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Increasing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Existing Public Investments in Early Childhood Education

Increasing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Existing Public Investments in Early Childhood Education

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Donna Cooper and Kristina Costa examine the benefits of early childhood education programs and discuss ways to enhance and improve the existing federally supported early childhood education system.
Donna Cooper and Kristina Costa examine the benefits of early childhood education programs and discuss ways to enhance and improve the existing federally supported early childhood education system.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Center for American Progress on May 24, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/07/2012

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Increasing the Eectiveness andEfciency o Existing Public Investmentsin Early Childhood Education
Recommendations to Boost Program Outcomes and Eciency
Donna Cooper and Kristina Costa June 2012
www.americanprogress.org
    T    H    E    A    S    S    O    C    I    A    T    E    D    P    R    E    S    S    /    L    M     O    T    E    R    O
 
Introduction and summary | www.americanprogress.org1
Introduction and Summary
 Across America parens are increasingly relying on early childhood programsor services ar beyond simply babysiting. Mos are seeking early care setingsoering developmenal aciviies ha help young children build srong cogniive,moor, social, and emoional skills.Tere is a mouning body o research demonsraing he impac o early learning onlielong success. Te qualiy o early child care is he mos consisen predicor o  young childrens behavior, according o he Naional Insiue o Child Healh andHuman Developmen Early Childcare Research Nework.
1
Children who receivehigh-qualiy child care have beter developmenal oucomes in early childhood,including beter cogniive and linguisic developmen.
2
In shor, experiences early inlie can have a remendous impac on an individual’s lieime rajecory.Paricipaion in high-qualiy early learning programs packs an impressive eco-nomic punch, as well. Te economic reurn on invesmen rom early learningprograms is higher han rom remedial inervenions laer in lie, economiss nd.
3
 Nobel Prize-winning economis James Heckman wries:
Te returns to human capital investments are greatest or the young or two rea-sons: a) younger persons have a longer horizon over which to recoup the fuits o their investments, and b) skill begets skills.
4
In he highly compeiive globalized economy, American college sudens arealready ounumbered by heir Chinese and Indian counerpars.
5
In 2011 abouwo-hirds o eighh graders esed below procien in boh mah and reading onNaional Assessmen o Educaional Progress assessmens. Tese numbers holdseady or graduaing seniors as well. Only 25 percen o he 2011 graduaing classme all our AC college readiness benchmarks, according o gures released by he college admissions esing organizaion.
6
O hose sudens who do go ono college, only abou hal earn a bachelor’s degree wihin six years.
7
Tese poorsuden oucomes are mos pronounced among poorer children.
 
2Center or American Progress | Increasing the Eectiveness and Efciency o Existing Public Investments in Early Childhood Education
Te Ounce o Prevenion Fund—a public-privae parnership ha invess inhe healhy developmen o a-risk inans, oddlers, and preschoolers and heiramilies—summarizes a broad eld o research showing ha, wihou high-qualiy early childhood inervenion, an a-risk child is:
•
25 percen more likely o drop ou o school
•
40 percen more likely o become a een paren
•
50 percen more likely o be placed in special educaion
•
60 percen more likely o never atend college
•
70 percen more likely o be arresed or a violen crime
8
Heckman’s research nds, however, ha a-risk children who paricipae in inen-sive pre-educaion pilo programs do beter in school, are more likely o graduaerom high school and atend college, and are ulimaely more likely o ransiion osuccessul adul lives.
9
 Wihou quesion, he Unied Saes aces many urgen educaional and economicchallenges. Chie among hem is he need o creae a high-qualiy early learningsysem ha reaches ar more children han he curren sysem permis.In his repor we describe how conficing expecaions, misaligned sysemrequiremens, and programmaic rewalls on he ederal level creae ormidable barriers o he operaion o a well-coordinaed sysem o high-qualiy early child-hood educaion or children rom birh o 5 years old. Tis lack o coordinaionmeans ha our ederal invesmens are neiher operaing as ecienly nor aseecively as possible. As a resul we are missing he opporuniy o increase henumber o young children who ener kindergaren wih he skills, knowledge, anddisposiions necessary or school and lielong success.Currenly, here are our ederal unding sreams—Head Sar, he Child CareDevelopmen Block Gran, he Elemenary and Secondary Educaion Ac, andhe Individuals wih Disabiliies Educaion Ac—invesing approximaely $13 billion annually in early childhood programs ocused on boosing early learningoucomes. Mos o he resources rom hese unding sreams, which we describelaer in his repor, are argeed o a-risk children. Bu despie laudable inenions,challenges naurally arise when muliple ederal agencies are working relaively independenly o one anoher in pursui o a common goal.
Without question,the United Statesfaces many urgenteducationaland economicchallenges. Chief among them is theneed to create ahigh-quality earlylearning systemthat reaches farmore children thanthe current systempermits.

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