7 Percent to 10 Percent Return, Per Child, Per Year

Dr. James Heckman in the NY Times Opinion Pages:

The economic strength of any nation depends on the skills of its people. Unfortunately, the United States has a growing skills problem that is directly related to the declining quality of early childhood environments for disadvantaged children. Many disadvantaged children arrive at kindergarten with achievement deficits that are difficult and expensive to remediate in school and later in life.

Investing in quality early childhood development for disadvantaged children from birth through age 5 will help prevent these achievement deficits and produce better education, health, social and economic outcomes. Such investment will reduce the need for costly remediation and social spending while increasing the value, productivity and earning potential of individuals. In fact, every dollar invested in quality early childhood development for disadvantaged children produces a 7 percent to 10 percent return, per child, per year.