Monday, August 25, 2008

Focus on Disadvantaged Youths

It's been a while since I've written anything here, but I think this article is too important for me to just read and forget. Early childhood education policy has been a pet interest of mine ever since I lazily attempted to write a thesis on it in college. Since I failed, I was happy to see James Heckman - a Chicago man no less - quantify some of the benefits of focusing policy on children whose parents under value education. This sentence was a particular gem.

An estimated rate of return (the return per dollar of cost) to the Perry Program is around 10%. This high rate of return is higher than the post-World War II return on US stock market equity (5.8%) and suggests that society at large can benefit substantially from such interventions in the lives of disadvantaged children.

The goal for me has always been to see everyone start on an equal playing field and not worry much about the finish. But until we begin to allow children to fully participate in the market for education, society bears a responsibility to children whose parents neglect to put a priority on their child's future.