Combining quality child care with preschool promotes social mobility across generations

Economist James Heckman and businessman J.B. Pritzker writing in The Hill:

“The push for high-quality universal pre-K for four-year-olds, now embraced by a growing number of political and thought leaders, is strangely isolated from the movement supporting child care for working mothers. Focusing solely on four-year-old children may make for good politics, but by itself it falls short. Good policy takes into account the science of early childhood brain development, the needs of working mothers with younger children, and provides disadvantaged infants and toddlers with the high-quality child care that has been proven to promote success in school and later on in life.”

Find the article here: https://go.edc.org/ug1v

Why DeVos Should Embrace Early Childhood Education (Brookings)

See this strong statement with a helpful review of the evidence from the Brookings Institution.

“As Betsy DeVos ascends to the role of secretary of education amidst partisan rancor, she would do well to embrace early childhood education, an issue offering an oasis of bipartisan support. Ninety percent of voters, regardless of party affiliation, endorse quality early childhood education with expanded access and affordability for children from low- and middle-income backgrounds, according to a 2016 national poll by the First Five Years Fund. Early childhood education is a strong investment in our nation’s future, as cost-benefit estimates report societal savings of up to $13 for every dollar spent on quality early childhood programs. But how can we convince policymakers to increase investment in early care and education and improve life outcomes for at-risk children?

The scientific evidence offers clear direction about what works for long-term payoffs in school readiness and life beyond the classroom. Three areas are pivotal to achieving that end:  (i) early access to programs that serve children age 0-3; (ii) working with parents (direct practice of skills and intensive home visiting); and (iii) high quality programs entailing teacher-child interactions that promote higher-order thinking skills, low teacher to child ratios, and ongoing job-embedded professional development.

See the article here: https://go.edc.org/kbkq

 

13% Return on Investment: New Research on 0-5 Programs

From the Washington Post:

“Nobel Prize winner James Heckman’s research has played an important role in establishing that high-quality public preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds can more than pay for itself over the long term, as low-income children who attend are more likely to live productive lives. It’s an economic argument that has persuaded lawmakers from both parties to support early education initiatives.

Now Heckman has released new research showing that the return on investment is even higher for high-quality programs that care for low-income children from infancy to age 5. Children in such zero-to-five programs are more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to be incarcerated than their counterparts who stayed home or enrolled in low-quality programs, had higher IQs and were healthier during the course of their lives, according to the study released Monday.

All of that taken together leads to a significant savings to society, the study found.

The rate of return on the public investment in zero-to-five programs is 13 percent per year, Heckman and his colleagues estimate, up from an estimate of 7 percent to 10 percent per year for preschool programs that start at age 3.”

Washington Post article: https://go.edc.org/bx7p
Related Education Week article (see regarding gender differences and a few policy recommendations): https://go.edc.org/ja1t

“Affordable Child Care: The Secret to a Better Economy”

Of the 24 million children under 6 in the United States today, some 12 million need day care, because both parents work or a single parent is the breadwinner. Yet most working families can’t afford good care — if they can even find it in the first place. In 2006, a federal study gave a “high quality” rating to only 10 percent of the nation’s child care programs, and the proportion today is almost certainly smaller, since government financing for child care has declined in the past decade.

So it is no surprise that child care has become a campaign issue, with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump proposing to help with costs that now average nearly $18,000 a year for two children in a child care center (or about 30 percent of median family income). What is surprising is that it has taken so long for the issue to gain prominence. After all, affordable high-quality child care is one remedy to the long stagnation in wages afflicting most of the work force. It is also an antidote to the waning productivity that threatens future living standards.

New York Times Editorial: https://go.edc.org/8hfw

Atlantic Monthly: Boston’s Preschools a Model for Later Grades

After a relentless focus on quality in the early years, the city is even bringing lessons learned to later grades …

Changing all of early elementary school in a methodical and purposeful way to better resemble the student-centered structure of preschool would be a much bigger win than just proving that preschool helps students do better in kindergarten, Sachs said. And those aren’t just words. Starting this coming school year, his department will be responsible not just for preschool and kindergarten curriculum and coaching, but for first and second grade as well.

Atlantic Monthly: What Boston’s Preschools Get Right

Preschool “Works” When Instruction Is Good to Excellent, Study Finds

Preschool teachers must offer high-quality instruction to change academic outcomes for their students, according to a new analysis of eight large preschool studies conducted by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Preschoolers in center-based care showed larger gains in reading and language when their teachers spent more time supporting their learning—but only if the quality of instruction was in the moderate to high range,” said Margaret Burchinal, a senior scientist at Frank Porter Graham, in a statement.

Education Weekhttp://goo.gl/nM6GKF

 

“Why What You Learned in Preschool Is Crucial at Work”

… Skills like cooperation, empathy and flexibility have become increasingly vital in modern-day work. Occupations that require strong social skills have grown much more than others since 1980, according to new research. And the only occupations that have shown consistent wage growth since 2000 require both cognitive and social skills.

Preschool classrooms, Mr. Deming said, look a lot like the modern work world. Children move from art projects to science experiments to the playground in small groups, and their most important skills are sharing and negotiating with others. But that soon ends, replaced by lecture-style teaching of hard skills, with less peer interaction.

Work, meanwhile, has become more like preschool.

Why What You Learned in Preschool Is Crucial at Work (New York Times)