Uncategorized

“The Solution to All of Society’s Problems: Preschool”

On Friday, NPR’s Planet Money (available in podcast) featured research by University of Chicago economist James Heckman demonstrating how and why public investments in preschool have so many long-term benefits and such a high return on investment.

The cost to society of courts and crime is lowered. The cost of educating kids who are unruly and undisciplined in schools, that goes down. The benefits that the kid contributes to earnings and society, that goes up. And so on down the line.

The key is not, as many presume, that preschool raises children’s cognitive abilities (it does that, too, but that’s not where the biggest impact is), it’s that it builds and reinforces so-called “soft skills” that are critical to succeeding in the workplace and having healthy inter-personal relationships.  In fact, much recent research is showing that if a child does not develop these soft skills in their early years, they are likely to never develop them.

With all of the evidence demonstrating the substantial long-term benefits and cost-savings of investing in preschool, it would seem that cutting back on such investments would be the last thing that states would want to do.  Yet that’s exactly what many states, including North Carolina, are doing.

As the considerable body of research building on Heckman’s work shows, it’s not just the children who lose spots in preschool programs who will suffer from these short-sighted cuts, we all will in the long run.

Check Also

Some of Obama Administration’s Proposed Tax Changes Lay Groundwork for Federal, State Reform

This blog post is one in a series ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

With just a few hours left until the crossover deadline, the state of North Carolina’s environment i [...]

On Monday morning, there was only one way left to save the Court of Appeals and a few hours with whi [...]

The political compromise that repealed HB2 was enough for the NCAA and ACC, both of which have retur [...]

Conference comes a day after new report lauds benefits of same-day registration The new line-up for [...]

How many times do we have to say it? Well, it’s worth repeating – especially in the aftermath of rec [...]

As the national pundits weigh in on President Trump’s first 100 days in office and the General Assem [...]

How the General Assembly is spending “crossover week” and what it ought to be doing The last week of [...]

To casual observers, the recent controversy surrounding public school class-size mandates in grades [...]

Featured | Special Projects

Trump + North Carolina
In dozens of vitally important areas, policy decisions of the Trump administration are dramatically affecting and altering the lives of North Carolinians. This growing collection of stories summarizes and critiques many of the most important decisions and their impacts.
Read more


HB2 - The continuing controversy
Policy Watch’s comprehensive coverage of North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law.
Read more