Early Education–By the numbers

What if someone offered you a business proposition where you were guaranteed a $6.31 return on a $1 investment, over and over again?   You’d ask questions, of course, but it’s likely that you’d be all in.  Why do we ask?

Through research, Nobel Prize-winning economist, James Heckman, has determined that for every $1 spent on quality preschool and early education, society sees a benefit of $6.31 in reduced or avoided costs for remediation and social problems.

His team from the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California followed 131 children for 35 years to see the benefits of being in a high-quality preschool program compared to those children who did not attend. The researchers found that the lasting benefits for the children included higher IQ levels, reduced health risks and better education and job outcomes.

A film called “Are We Crazy About Our Kids?”  shows evidence that a child’s experiences during the early years of life are vital to building success in school and life.  Now economists are studying the costs and benefits of high-quality care and preschool.  And they’re worried–not because we’re spending too much, but because we’re investing too little where it matters most.

On a topic that most of us would be passionate about–how can an average person help?  Here are our best ideas:

  • Be aware of the importance of investing in young children.
  • Watch the video link above–it’s easily digestible and thought provoking.
  • Get involved with the preschool/early education centers in your community.  They are likely in need of goods, services, expertise (marketing/legal/financial/carpentry/plumbing and more) and leadership!

It’s a cause worth supporting and the payoff has been shown over and over again!