Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Big Ideas for Children: the economy of investing in children

First Focus offered Big Ideas for Children: essays by a wide range of policy advocates on ways we can invest in children (to download or request a copy, visit here).

It's a rich stew of proposals, including one by James Heckman, who won the Nobel Prize for economics. It's encouraging that a number of the proposals recognize the difference between just spending money (more money is the means to do more stuff) and investing (creating policies, tools and institutions to identify and exploit new means to achieve goals).

Investing in early childhood is an economy: it hits the "tipping point" early and provides maximum leverage for scarce resources. It's an investment that offers compounded "interest" for children, parents and society.

Big Ideas: highly recommended reading...

Other Resources

Ounce of Prevention: Invest in the Very Young

Partnership for America's Economic Success - especially the Partnership's West Coast Forum (2008) (includes a keynote presentation by Michael Millken)

Committee on Economic Development (2006): Building the Economic Case for Investments in Preschool (links to proceedings of the 2006 Conference)

American Federation of Teachers (2007): The Case for Early Investment in Our Kids

The Birth to Five Alliance

Other Perspectives

PCAA on Big Ideas.

The Brookings Institute blogged on child care initiatives

The New America Foundation's Early Ed Watch blog has a very interesting post on the economic analysis offered by Heckman and Federal Reserve economists Arthur Rolnick and Rob Grunewald.

Slate (2007): Teach The Children Well

Thanks for First Focus for putting together an illustrious crew of visionaries to look at our national policies on children's health and well-being.

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