A prominent education expert has made the bold proclamation that children ought to be receiving some conventional form of required academic training from the time they are born.
According to the Chicago Tribune, James Heckman, a critically-acclaimed researcher and economist has revealed a new study, which makes the case that children would benefit from being required to attend public school or participate in some form of academic training in the first stages of their life.
Emma Brown, a columnist for the Washington Post wrote the following in a news article, which was published by The Tribune Monday (December 12th):
“Heckman has released new research showing that the return on investment is even higher for high-quality programs that care for low-income children from infancy to age 5. Children in such zero-to-five programs are more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to be incarcerated than their counterparts who stayed home or enrolled in low-quality programs, had higher IQs and were healthier during the course of their lives, according to the study released Monday.” (The Chicago Tribune)
Heckman’s new findings come highly revered. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his research in the year 2000. Heckman is currently the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, Professor of Law at the Law School, and director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago.
“As an economist, I always find it very odd that people only focus on the costs of a program rather than the benefits,” Heckman said in an exclusive interview. “This is very strong evidence for supporting this kind of program going forward,” he continued.
Heckman’s new findings came from the analysis of two programs in North Carolina, which started in the 1970s. Analysts tracked the graduates of these programs all the way up to the time they turned 35-years-old. The programs were called the Carolina Abecedarian Project and the Carolina Approach to Responsive Education.
“[These programs enrolled] low-income African American infants when they were eight weeks old and caring for them five days a week, 50 weeks a year, until age 5,” Brown also wrote.