Responding to skeptics of early childhood programs as local economic development

I gave presentations on Tuesday, June 28, 2011,  to business summits sponsored by two of the Great Start Collaboratives in Michigan, in Cass County and Berrien County. I appreciate their interest in my work.

My prepared text tried to respond to various criticisms that skeptics have made of the case for early childhood programs promoting local economic development. This prepared text is available here. This speech draft provides about a 4000 word summary of possible responses to many of the criticisms made of early childhood programs, including:

(1) whether these programs truly help the local economy, not just participants;

(2) whether the research support for early childhood programs is reliable;

(3) whether the evidence suggests that early childhood programs can be run effectively at a large scale;

(4) whether these programs provide short-term benefits, and

(5) whether early childhood programs are only useful for the disadvantaged.

The draft speech also includes some comments on national and state funding trends for early childhood programs. There are some specific program suggestions for Michigan as well as local counties in Michigan, which would in many cases be applicable to other states.

About timbartik

Tim Bartik is a senior economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His research specializes in state and local economic development policies and local labor markets.
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