In a down economy, everyone is trying to think about how to fix it—but could the answer lie in early childhood education?
As we approach the 2012 elections, more and more voters are concerned with education. In fact, two-thirds of voters in nine swing states stated that education was extremely important to them personally, realizing the link between education and the economy.
So, what’s wrong with early childhood education today—is it bad teachers, over-crowded classrooms or unmotivated students? What’s wrong with early childhood education today is poverty. Currently, 1 in 5 children live in families with incomes below the poverty level, and as the economy continues to be stagnant, the gap between wealthy and poor families continues to widen.
Rob Gruenwald, economic researcher, found that for every $1 invested in quality early childhood daycare and education, the community sees a $16 return on investment because of less public funding going to law enforcement, prison costs and other services.
Research dating back to the 1960s proves Grunenwald and other like-minded researchers’ theories, so why don’t early childhood education programs get more federal and state funding? Grunenwald believes it’s because results are intangible and unless people have young children in their lives, they don’t realize the importance of early childhood education.
As the 2012 elections near, we’ll have to pay close attention to the candidates’ views on early childhood education, with the hope that the achievement gap can one day, be closed in a flourishing economy.