The Challenge of Making Smart Social Investments

Life skill formation is dynamic in nature. Skill begets skill; motivation begets motivation. If a child is not motivated and stimulated to learn and engage early on in life, the more likely it is that when the child becomes an adult, the child will struggle in social and economic life.
–Dr. James Heckman, Nobel laureate, University of Chicago
What if we could solve the problem of poverty with one, targeted and precise intervention? What if the picture of the future did not include the faces of poor or hungry children—or adults? While this is most likely not the case…there is a growing body of research around the importance of intervening during the first three years of life in order to significantly improve lifetime outcomes for children including health, educational attainment, long term earning, reduction in involvement in the criminal justice system and lifelong productivity.
Every day here at Fedcap, we work to eliminate barriers to economic well-being. And because we believe that questions are at least just as important as answers, if early childhood education is the place to focus our energies (or at least part of our energies) then—what are the most effective strategies for investing in early childhood development, how much investment is the right amount and what are the most effective and targeted interventions?
Next week, we will be exploring this question at our 13th biannual Solution Series. We will be joined by three national experts who well understand the need for investing in high-quality early childhood programs that could dramatically improve opportunities for a better workforce and a better future. If you click on the invitation below you can register for the event. I would love to see you attend!
According to the First Five Year Fund, a federal, non-partisan advocacy group, today, less than half of low-income children have access to the types of programs that could radically improve their future.
Our panelists will tell us that every dollar invested in quality early childhood education for low-income children provides taxpayers with a significant return (as much as 13%). They will explore the economic implications of that investment—not just for those who reside in poverty, but for society as a whole, and particularly, what it means to the workforce of the future and the competitive position of our country in a global economy.
Our experts next week include Caitlin Codella, Director or Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce; economist Michael Weinstein, Executive Director of Impact Matters; and Katharine Stevens, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. I urge you to join us for what promises to be a transformative conversation. I welcome your thoughts, as always.