Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Beat the market: Invest in early childhood education

Editor Tracy Warner takes a look at the evidence on early childhood education and urges Washington to make further investments in our economic future:

Invest in early childhood education. Concentrate on children from families considered “at risk” due to poverty or other complicating factors. The rate of return will be true and measurable. Society will benefit socially and financially.

High-quality early learning and care (from birth to five years of age) has already been shown to improve health, lower crime, enhance education, and increase economic productivity.

Warner goes a step further, citing statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to make a case that the rate of return ($3-$17 per dollar invested) exceeds that of the stock market – even in good years:

This is practical advice. It is not phony economics in support of the latest do-good trend. There is an opportunity here to invest in education where there will be a measurable payoff. Washington state has moved ahead, increasing funding for preschool programs substantially, but there should be more, and more outlets for private contributions involvement.

In only a few years it could put money back in our pockets.

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