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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Invest in early childhood education

File under: child care, education

0 (0 votes)

From: Elizabeth P., Chapel Hill, NC

I'm a researcher at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, working on ways to close the achievement gap between children raised in poverty and other children. The results of one of the studies I work on, the Abecedarian Project, provides strong evidence that early childhood education in a high quality child care setting can have long lasting effects (we now have data through age 30) on the educational outcomes of these children, including more likely to go to college. Higher education is associated with higher economic outcomes -- thus a way to fight poverty!

Further, both neurological research and economic research demonstrate that the earlier in life we begin, the easier it is and the less expensive it is to achieve these results. The cost-benefits analysis of our study found that for every $1 spent, society got back $2.50 (from higher taxes paid on higher incomes because of better educational outcomes). Another long-term study of early educational intervention for children raised in poverty, the Perry Preschool Project, found for every $1 spent, over $12 was saved in reduced crime rates. So, my vote for tackling this problem: working with families and young children from birth. The science backs up this approach very clearly.


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American RadioWorks |
Photo: Daniel Buchanan

How to help students hope

A polling expert finds students less engaged with school as they get older. Brandon Busteed from Gallup Education says if schools taught to strengths instead of weaknesses, more students would be successful in school and in life.

Recent Posts

  • 10.21.14

    Making it stick

    Why do we remember some things, and forget others? That's what author Peter Brown and psychologists Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel set out to answer in their new book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
  • 10.14.14

    What teachers need

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford talks with author Elizabeth Green about her new book, Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone).
  • 10.07.14

    Intelligence is achievable and other lessons from The Teacher Wars

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford continues her conversation with Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars.
  • 10.01.14

    Teaching: The most embattled profession

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford talks with bestselling author Dana Goldstein about her new book, The Teacher Wars.