Responding to six arguments of skeptics of early childhood programs

I recently gave two lengthy presentations on early childhood programs in Grand Haven, Michigan and Newaygo County, Michigan.  My draft speech, which goes for 8 pages, is here. The PowerPoint accompanying this speech is at the link at the bottom of this page, or more directly here.

The presentation is framed as responses to six skeptic questions/concerns raised about early childhood programs:

  1. Why should legislators and other policymakers believe advocates for early childhood programs when advocates claim the research evidence for these programs is convincing?
  2. Are early childhood programs really needed for any except the most disadvantaged kids?
  3. How does preschool help the entire local economy?  Even if it helps former program participants, won’t these former participants as adults just move somewhere else? Even if they stay, how will others in the local economy benefit?
  4. What are the short-term benefits of early childhood programs?
  5. Will preschool and other early childhood programs somehow undermine the role of parents? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to focus on parenting rather than focusing on expensive preschool and childcare programs?
  6. Why should the government take on preschool when we haven’t solved our many challenges with K-12 education? Won’t anything we do in preschool be undermined by problems in K-12?

The presentation provides what I hope are convincing answers to all these questions, with PowerPoint slides providing supporting data.

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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