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Researchers and policymakers alike want to better understand the long-run effects of investments in children's well-being. Yet, only a few studies have examined how participants in early childhood interventions fare as adults. These studies suggest that early investments may have sizable payoffs for children's later success. Such studies are valuable, but also rare and costly. In the absence of long-run data on children's outcomes, how can we determine the long-run monetary value of improvements in young children's well-being? In this report we describe a way to estimate the connections between improvements in aspects of children's early health, achievement, and behavior, as well as early parenting, to improved labor market outcomes when they become adults. Our results suggest that investments in early childhood that improve these aspects of development will likely have important payoffs. However, the magnitude of these payoffs is strongly dependent on the extent to which early program effects are maintained over time.
Early child development and education programming have proven to be effective investments in both young children and the communities in which they live. An international body of research points to strong evidence that high-quality early child development and early education policies, with appropriate standards and accountability, yield many more benefits than costs through the use of finite community resource dollars. Not only do young children acquire important social-emotional skills that yield long term benefits to both society and individual families, but the early years are the greatest opportunity to develop cognitive skills for optimal brain development, healthy habits, and lay a foundation for years of future academic success. Employers also capture short and long-term benefits for their local firms when early care and education is supported. Yet many communities, including Nashville-Davidson County have not made concentrated, comprehensive efforts to support robust and aligned early care and education efforts to ensure the sustained healthy development and success of their youngest citizens.
Those seeking to reduce deficits and strengthen the economy should make significant investments in early childhood education. Professor Heckman's ground-breaking work with a consortium of economists, psychologists, statisticians and neuroscientists shows that early childhood development directly influences economic, health and social outcomes for individuals and society. Adverse early environments create deficits in skills and abilities that drive down productivity and increase social costs - thereby adding to financial deficits borne by the public.
Designed to promote savings and economic mobility, Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs) are universal, longterm, asset-building accounts established for children with public seed money and that grow over time with additional deposits and earnings. San Francisco's Kindergarten to College (K2C) initiative opens a CSA for all children entering kindergarten in the City's public schools, putting San Francisco at the forefront of efforts to model how a national CSA policy could be implemented in the United States.
The bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research recently completed a survey of 800 voters throughout the United States. It revealed overwhelming support for ensuring that children gain the knowledge and skills necessary to start kindergarten off on the right foot, with a majority of voters saying that we should do more to achieve this goal. When presented with the broad outlines of a federal plan that helps states provide better early childhood education programs to low- and middle-income families without increasing the debt, fully seven-in-ten voice their support-with strong majorities of support among Republicans (60%), Independents (64%) and Democrats (84%).
As part of the strategic planning process engaged in during 2008-2009, the Collaboration adopted benchmarks for the Oak Park Early Childhood System. The benchmarks were chosen because they are relevant, measurable and provide data that can be used and acted upon to further system development and better prepare children for success in school and in life. The benchmarks allow for targets and dates to be specified. The Collaboration will define these measures in increasing increments, based on funding levels.
Today more than ever, businesses need employees who are well prepared to succeed in a competitive economy. But the current workforce pipeline is not sufficient - not for businesses that need highly-skilled staff, not for young people who need good paying jobs, and not for the nation that needs a growing economy. When processes fail, business leaders do not look for solutions after the fact - they look upstream to prevent them from happening in the first place. The foundation for success starts in the earliest years of children's lives, when they begin to develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to do well in school and beyond. To fix our failing workforce pipeline, we need to help our children get the good start in life that will enable them to succeed.
Based on a review of the most advanced city efforts to align education for young children from birth through third grade, the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute) identified 10 common elements of effective systems alignment. This report contains case studies of local efforts in Boston, Hartford, San Antonio, San Jose and Seattle that provide examples of how cities are incorporating each of the following elements into their alignment strategies.
The District of Columbia has provided funding for prekindergarten programs since the 1960s. The D.C. Public Pre-Kindergarten program as it now exists serves students in schools run through D.C. Public Schools (DCPS), community-based organizations (CBOs), and charter schools authorized by the D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB). The Pre-Kindergarten Enhancement and Expansion Amendment Act, passed in 2008, aims to provide high-quality, universally available prekindergarten education services through a mixed delivery system across all education sectors. The distribution of program funds by the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is based on a per-pupil funding formula with additional funds for serving children who receive special education services or are English Language Learners. Charter schools receive a separate facilities allowance per child. DCPS piloted blended classrooms that enroll pre-K students funded through various sources in the pre-K program during the 2010-2011 school year. Additional freedom was also granted to non-public providers to manage their own contracts for technical assistance and comprehensive health service consultations. The PCSB provides oversight to participating pre-K programs.
The Collaboration for Early Childhood is a model public/private partnership that leverages the resources of more than 40 local agencies to create a community-wide system of high-quality programs and services that foster physical, cognitive and social-emotional development during the critical first five years of life.