Earlier this week, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors released its 70th annual Economic Report of the President shedding light on the state of today’s economy. While the economy shows modest, steady growth, the report found that widening inequality still remains.
One of the reports proposals to ease inequality would be to help low-income families and invest in early childhood education. Specifically, Chapter 4 of the economic report gives an overview of the current research and benefits of investing in early learning. The chapter also highlights current federal policies on early childhood health, development, and education, and shows the impact such policies have on the economy and the nation as a whole. From the report:
Many measures of abilities and skills that contribute to future productivity—referred to by economists as “human capital”—were once considered by many to be hereditary. Yet a growing body of research at the intersection of economics, neuroscience, and developmental psychology has shown that early indicators of a child’s potential are often highly responsive to changes in environment and to the actions of parents and caregivers. In turn, improvements or deficits in early investments can perpetuate themselves, in part by enhancing or reducing the efficacy of later childhood investments. Indeed, at the time of school entry, the characteristics of a child and his or her family explain much of the variation in later educational achievement, and even in subsequent earnings and employment. Further, gaps that exist at school entry tend to remain stable or even widen as children progress through school.
While no one program is a silver bullet, investing in early childhood education is a solution that creates upward mobility through opportunity. Targeted early childhood programs aid healthy brain development and help disadvantaged children succeed in school and make gains throughout life. FFYF applauds the Obama administration for once again prioritizing early learning. It is our hope that whoever the next president is come November, they too will see the benefit of early childhood education.
Download and read the full White House report here.