Friday, February 11, 2011


More evidence that the government's ECE cuts are shortsighted: an American study showing that for every dollar invested in ECE, it returns nearly $11 to society over a child's life:

Reynolds and his colleagues did the cost-benefit analysis of the [Chicago Public Schools' federally funded Child Parent Centers] using information collected on about 900 children enrolled in the 20 centers starting when they were three and first enrolled in a preschool program. The study continued until the children were nine and taking part in a school-age program that featured smaller classes, teacher aides, and instructional and family support. Follow-up interviews were done in early adulthood and information was collected from many sources until age 26. These children were compared to a group of about 500 comparable children who didn't take part in the CPC but participated in the usual educational interventions for disadvantaged youths in Chicago schools.

The CPC resulted in significantly higher rates of attendance at 4-year colleges and employment in higher-skilled jobs and significantly lower rates of felony arrests and symptoms of depression in young adulthood.

The program's economic benefits in 2007 dollars exceeded costs, including increased earnings and tax revenues, averted costs related to crime and savings for child welfare, special education and grade retention. The preschool part showed the strongest economic benefits providing a total return to society of $10.83 per dollar invested -- equivalent to an 18 percent annual return on program investment. Gains varied by child, program and family group.

When the researchers included the benefits from reductions in smoking, total returns rose to more than $12 per dollar invested.

(Emphasis added)

And while we're at it, here's more: an OECD study showing that pre-school attendees are better readers at age 15. Wasn't the government making some noises a while back about wanting to boost literacy rates?

Contrary to the government's views, ECE is not just babysitting. It is an extremely high-return investment in our future, paying off in a multitude of ways. Its exactly the sort of investment a government wanting a "step-change" in our economic performance should make. Instead, National is cutting it, to pay for the tax cuts they gave away to their rich mates. Another example of National's asset-stripping.