People are talking about early childhood education. We’ve heard about it from both presidential candidates. We’ve heard President Obama discuss it. Most talk about the high cost of preschool and that preschool must be affordable for families.
Do you know who else has been talking about it?
Rob Grunewald is not a household name, so why is he important? Rob is an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has been studying the value of early childhood education for at least 15 years. Far from family advocates discussing the value of preschool based on anecdotal evidence, Rob and his colleagues have repeatedly dove deep into the costs and associated benefits of preschool experiences.
They have consistently found that not only is preschool a good thing for children in the short term, it also has sustaining “lower social costs, such as lower crime costs; and higher school achievement, educational attainment, and earnings. Average societal rates of return range from 7 percent to about 20 percent annually.” (Grunewald, 2016)
The thing is, not all studies show this. Some recent studies, admittedly, show a drop off in benefits by the middle to end of elementary school; however, Grunewald’s research shows this drop off is preventable. He discusses several important pieces to ensure the benefits of preschool do not disappear. Click here to read his recent article.
The long-term value of a preschool education depends on both dosage and quality. In other words, do children have access to full day programs and are the programs any good?
Strong Start Tucson is about getting value for the investment. Strong Start Tucson will ensure quality standards are in place and most of the children benefitting from SST will have access to full day preschool. At SST we want children to enter school ready to learn; but, we also want them as adults to hold down jobs, be in committed relationships and go to college. Research shows this happens when children attend high quality preschool programs – SST will ensure children do.