What for some might look costly and meaningless, for James Heckman seems the best solution to end worldwide education problems. He is an American economist that, in 2000, won the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work in microeconomics. Most people believe him to be one of the most influential economists of all times. He, together with his University of Chicago colleagues has just finished The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Education Programs.
This important paper comes with an innovative approach to tackling the global education crisis. They brought evidence to support a rather unbelievable solution and that of sending your kids to school from their early childhood. The study focused on an entire lifecycle of the students from two educational programs from the 1970s.
Researchers gather data regarding these students related to their cognitive skills, home mediums, socio-emotional skills, and family economic level and structure. The recordings took place at the age of eight and then continued for children age 12, 15, 21, and 30.
The results show an improvement for children that participated in early childhood programs than the ones who started later in life. These changes
influenced different factors in a positive way such as health levels, employment, and work income. The study was also focused on criminal records to understand the effects of an early education program.
The results did also reveal some high return on investment numbers. For early childhood programs that take care of disadvantaged children, for every $1 they spend, the ROI turns it in $13 in a year, which is 3% better than preschools. The outcomes are also seeing improvements in numerous fields such as education, social relationships, employment, and health.
The two studied programs received eight weeks old babies and adopted play time as curriculum. Also, their focus was equally spent for each kid as the exercises were tailored to fit the skills of each one of their members. The schedule started from 7:45 a.m. and finished at 5:30 p.m. and lasted for 50 weeks in a year. This program supported not only the intellect of babies but also mothers. Women recorded a higher participation in the workforce, while their babies received the best of childcare and education.
This lifecycle study proves that early childhood programs are a good investment for an entire society. Even though the initial costs are high, they will return the investment in the long run. Save the Children Action Network hopes that the new Trump administration will take care of the global education crisis with this insightful solution.
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