Investing in School Readiness
Research & Resources

Research & Resources

The achievement gap, which is often discussed in the context of K–12 education, begins well before kindergarten. Too many children enter school without the basic social, emotional and intellectual skills they need to be successful as students and in the workforce.

Children who enter kindergarten well prepared are more likely to do well, graduate from high school and go on to college. Investing in early childhood education is an investment in the future workforce.

National business organizations that support early childhood education include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Policy makers can explore research and best practices for expanding access to and financing for early childhood education from the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance.

The following articles explain the business and economic case for investing in early childhood education.

Bartik, Timothy, Attracting, Developing and Maintaining Human Capital: A New Model for Economic Development, Pew Center on the States. 2011.

Baschnagel, Charles and William Dickens. The Fiscal Effects of Investing in High-Quality Preschool Programs. Brookings. 2009.

Bernanke, Ben. Early Childhood Education. Speech at the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio (via prerecorded video). Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. July 24, 2012.

Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, Katherine Magnuson and Jane Waldfogel. Long-Run Economic Effects of Early Childhood Programs on Adult Earnings. Partnership for America’s Economic Success. 2009.

Business Roundtable. Expand Access to High-Quality Early Learning Programs. Business Roundtable. 2013.

Cascio, Elizabeth and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. Expanding Preschool Access for Disadvantaged Children. Brookings. 2014.

Dickens, William, Charles Baschnagel, and Timothy Bartik. Long-Term Economic Benefits of Investing in Early Childhood Programs. Partnership for America’s Economic Success. 2008.

Dickens, William, Isabel Sawhill and Jeffrey Tebbs. The Effects of Investing in Early Education on Economic Growth. Brookings. 2006.

Grunewald, Rob and Art Rolnick. Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. 2003.

Heckman, James. Invest in Early Childhood Development: Reduce Deficits, Strengthen the Economy. HeckmanEquation.org. 2012.

Isaacs, Julia B. Cost-Effective Investments in Children. Brookings. 2007.

Karoly, Lynn A. and James H. Bigelow. The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California. Rand Corporation. 2005.

Lynch, Robert G. Beyond Pre-kindergarten: Evidence and State-Level Action. Economic Policy Institute. 2014.

Lynch, Robert G. Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation: Public Investment in High-Quality Prekindergarten. Economic Policy Institute. 2007.

Lynch, Robert G. Exceptional Returns: Economic, Fiscal and Social Benefits of Investment in Early Childhood Development. Economic Policy Institute. 2004.

Ready Nation. Tomorrow’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Workforce Starts with Early Education. ReadyNation.

Ready Nation. The Vital Link: Early Childhood Investment is the First Step to High School Graduation. ReadyNation.

Weiss, Elaine. Paying Later: The High Costs of Failing to Invest in Young Children. Pew Center on the States. 2011.

An investment in early childhood education is an investment in the future of Fairfax County.

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