As I continue my journey our topic this week is about how economists, neuroscientists, or politicians support the early childhood field and what my understanding about it is and also how I am being influenced by these policy-influenced-makers.
As I have mentioned in previous weeks, my chosen website to “dig a little deeper” into is ZERO TO THREE. As I was researching how economists, neuroscientists or politicians play a role in support in the early childhood field, I came across a few articles: (There were many more article, but my eyes could not focus on my computer screen anymore and I chose my top three)
The Article that caught my eye more was Investing in Infants and Toddlers. The information on the ZERO TO THREE website gave me lots of insights as to investing and why economists or politicians should and could invest in our little ones.
The article was written in March 2016, laying out how research on early childhood investments provides opportunities for early childhood professionals and economists to work together to support greater investments in programs for infants, toddlers, and their families. In other words, ways in which early childhood professionals and economists can partner with one another to inform the public policy process.
Something we (teachers, and the people who have first-hand experience with children and families in our schools and classroom) have known since the first day arriving in a real classroom situations, Economic researchers are FINALLY coming to the conclusion: Investing in high-quality early childhood programs reaps considerable societal savings and numerous individual AND social benefits.
I have to point out – HIGH-QUALITY early childhood programs do not mean the most expensive school in your neighborhood!! Things are turning around and quality education is being forced into all schools (I hope).
Economic researchers are on a constant quest for efficiency. Economic problems are usually addressed with the question: What is the most effective and most cost-efficient way to resolve a situation?
This was the question University of Chicago economist and Nobel Prize winner James
Heckman asked when he began to research government spending on human capital programs. Heckman came across two major findings in his research:
1. The current work force in the United States is of low quality, and costs of crime
(prevention and intervention) are high. In addition, adverse childhood environments have the propensity to lead to disadvantages for children and to continue the cycle of poverty.
2. Human capital determines productivity: investment in increasing human capital for
individuals can yield exponential and sustainable benefits to both the individual as well
Thus, with each year of education or newly acquired skill, an individual’s human capital will generate an exponential amount of benefits.
The article brought facts to life as they show how your investment can bring you something back. Social benefits are high, for both parents and children for both long- and short-term. I might not like the money idea, but if it works, who am I to disagree.
Early childhood professionals have long described the benefits of investing in programs that aid young children and their families. Now, joined by human capital economists, support for early investment is even stronger. As advocates, we can use cost-benefit analysis to provide evidence for the benefits of investing early. Now is the time to use these tools and evidence to advocate for good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences.
I am not always “for” money as I feel investors do more harm from time to time as they have an “image” to keep up with, but when it can genuinely support children and families have a better life and quality education, I am all for it.
This article is written by Kimberly Lucas, ZERO TO THREE Public Policy Intern, with
contributions from Debbie Rappaport and Elizabeth DiLauro, ZERO TO THREE Policy Center. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Esthe/Downloads/Investing%20in%20Infants%20and%20Toddlers-%20The%20Economics%20of%20Early%20Childhood%20.pdf