Last night I heard Art Rolnick, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, talk in compelling terms about the return on investment from early childhood education. While estimates run as high as 16 percent on the dollar, Rolnick thinks that is conservative based on other impact. This is something we have thought for sometime but here it is in black and white.
Pay now or pay later as a society for children who do not reach the potential they have. Note I said, "potential they have." Often people think that children who do not excel at school just don't have it like the others. What this and other research show is the growing up in poverty and with the stresses that often come with that causes children's brains to develop differently. Add to that lack in many cases of high quality childcare and parental involvement and the picture becomes clearer. Take a look at this work and what they are doing in Minnesota--urban and rural-- to address the problem. It is a model that will work anywhere if we have the public will to do it.