A reader requested my summary of the “Top Ten” points of my book. Unfortunately, for reasons of logic, I think I need to do this list in order from 1 to 10 rather than in David Letterman’s reverse order. I’ve included links to blog posts that elaborate on some of these points.
- Investing in high-quality early childhood programs has a high return for state economies of $2 to $3 per dollar invested.
- The evidence for the effectiveness of early childhood programs is among the most rigorous of any public program. .
- Early childhood programs can produce long-term effects on adult outcomes by increasing “soft skills”, even though effects on “hard skills” sometimes fade.
- Early childhood programs have effects on the income distribution that are far more progressive than is true of business tax incentives.
- Early childhood programs have significant short-term benefits in reducing special education and other remedial program costs, and in attracting parents and thereby raising local property values.
- A state’s investments in early childhood programs have large national benefits due to out-migration of program participants to other states.
- We know enough about what makes for quality in early childhood programs that an average agency can produce good results with adequate funding.
- We need to know more about which early childhood programs are most successful, so we need to encourage innovation in program design with rigorous evaluation of results.
- Significant expansion of early childhood programs is politically likely to depend on state government actions.
- The federal government should encourage state and local expansion of high-quality early childhood programs, with an emphasis on encouraging innovation and evaluation.
There are other important points in my book, in particular in analyzing business tax incentives and across-the-board business tax cuts. But the above 10 stand out in my present thinking as the main points on early childhood programs.