Sound Stimulus Investments Begin In Early Childhood
Dec 10, 2008
In a recent column on Forbes.com, economics professor, Thomas F. Cooley, at the NYU-Stern School of Business considers different possibilities for stimulating the economy and argues that a critical investment, especially if we want long-term benefits, is education. Moreover, this investment must start in early childhood. Cooley highlights the vital role of early education to society and the economy:
Any discussion of investments in education with the goal of preparing the workforce of the future needs to begin in early childhood. In the first five years of life, children undergo tremendous development. If children receive support for growth in language, development of motor skills, social skill and emotional support, they are more likely to succeed in school subsequently and to later contribute to society. Absent that kind of early development, children are more likely to drop out of school, commit crimes and require support from the welfare system. These are the costs that society bears.
Cooley writes that early education programs, such as Head Start, produce significant, positive returns for at-risk children. To sustain and build upon these returns, there must also be a strong K-12 education system. In his column, Cooley argues that stimulus spending should include lifetime investments in education that begin in early childhood and continue on to college.
Making these sound, comprehensive investments would help move the country towards economic recovery while ensuring that our most vulnerable children and families share in the benefits of recovery.