Are We Crazy About Our Kids?
Some economists are worried about how much we spend on early care and education in America—not because we spend too much, but because we spend too little. Are We Crazy About Our Kids? explores how investments in high quality early care and preschool yield huge personal and social benefits—and pay for themselves many times over.
Science shows that a child’s experiences during the earliest years are vital to building the foundation for lifelong individual success—in school and in life. Now economists are studying the costs and benefits of high-quality early care and preschool. And they’re worried—not because we’re spending too much but because we’re spending too little where it matters most.
Are We Crazy About Our Kids? brings to life the class studies of Perry Preschool and other initiatives conducted by Nobel Laureate James Heckman, former Federal Reserve economist Arthur Rolnick and others demonstrating how high-quality early care and preschool yield huge benefits—for individuals and society.
The film also travels to Quebec which rolled out a novel jobs and anti-poverty program: they introduced universal early care and pre-K for $7 a day, along with expanded paid parental leave and other family supports. Quebec child poverty rates fell from the highest in Canada to the lowest.
Back here in the U.S., childcare remains largely haphazard, unregulated and unaffordable for most. But pilot early education programs continue. A preschool initiative in Salt Lake City has closed the achievement gap between rich and poor, reversing a 30-year national trend.
High-quality childcare and preschool is just one piece of the solution. But economists are clear about the equation: Our system is paying for failure, rather than investing in success.
The question is: what will we do about it? How crazy are we about our kids?
Each link takes you to the beginning of that segment and plays to the end of the video.
- Prologue: Economists Ponder Child Development: Why Start Early? (@ 0:00)
- First Happy Returns: The Perry Preschool Studies—Better Outcomes, Lower Social Costs (@ 3:49)
- Quebec Learns from the US: The Abecedarian and Chicago Parent-Child Center Studies (@ 7:24)
- "Quebec Is Crazy About Its Kids!": Reducing Poverty by Enacting Affordable Universal Early Care (@ 10:26)
- Subverting Our Own Future? The U.S. Lags Behind (@18:02)
- Closing the Achievement Gap–In Utah: Are We Crazy About Our Kids? (@23:17)
Featured in Are We Crazy About Our Kids?
- The HighScope Perry Preschool Studies – Summary and Full Report (PDF)
- The Carolina Abecedarian Project
- The Chicago Child-Parent Centers Studies
- In Quebec—The Early Years Study, “Un Québec fou de ses enfants” (Full Report, Working Group Report)
- Granite School District in Utah Summary (PDF) and Full Report (PDF)
- The Achievement Gap (New York Times)
- Tax Incentives Awarded to Corporations by Cities, Counties, States (New York Times report)
- Arthur Rolnick – Minneapolis Fed & ECD, Human Capital Research Initiative & ECD
- Cheryl Polk & the HighScope Educational Research Foundation
- James Heckman & The Heckman Equation
- Robert Dugger & ReadyNation
Many organizations are engaged in high-quality early care and education research and advocacy. They have briefs, charts, videos, backgrounders and other resources you can use to engage your staff, neighbors, co-workers, community-based groups, parents and public officials.
- Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education (Foundation for Child Development)
- Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Policy Publications or Resources by state
- Child Trends Databank
More than 100 indicators that focus on risks and positive developments for children.
- ChildCare Aware
For childcare providers, parents and families
- Children’s Defense Fund
Policy Priorities: Ending Child Poverty
- Early Moments Matter
Toolkit from the Early Head Start National Resource Center
- First Five Years Fund
Infographics, talking points, fact sheets and more.
- The Heckman Equation
Shareable charts, articles, video and other resources
- Why Early Investment Matters – Video
- National Association of Early Child Teacher Educators (NAECTE)
- National Black Child Development Institute
- National Center for Children in Poverty
- National Head Start Association
- National Institute for Early Education Research
Policy Matters Policy Briefs
- National Partnership for Women and Families
- National Women’s Law Center
- The Ounce of Prevention Fund
Makes the business case for investing in early child development
- Strong Start for Children Campaign
- Too Small To Fail
- Zero to Three
Building early childhood systems
- The Economics of Early Childhood Investments by the White House Council of Economic Advisors (Dec. 2014)
- Invest in US – a major initiative to expand investments in early ed led by First Five Years Fund
What They’re Saying
Makes a compelling case for the importance of smart investments in young children, which yield a lifetime of benefits for families, communities, and our country... Demonstrates why we must commit to making this care more available, affordable and of better quality.Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., Executive Director, Child Care Aware of America
Makes the vivid and compelling case that investing in policies and programs which support babies, young children and their families benefits us all. Ensuring all children get a good start in life results in a more talented workforce, stronger economy, healthier society and responsible citizenry. This film must be viewed and used as a springboard for action to help all children realize their full potential!Matthew E. Melmed, Executive Director, Zero To Three
A splendid blend of first-rate case studies embedded with vital voices in education, economics, and government. It adds up to a powerful case for investment in the so-important early learning years.David Lawrence Jr., retired publisher of The Miami Herald, president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, and Education and Community Leadership Scholar at the University of Miami School of Education & Human Development
This film powerfully illustrates why business leaders–who might seem unlikely to care about early childhood programs–are committed advocates for investments in early learning. Hundreds of CEO’s of major companies, chambers of commerce executives, and small business owners across the country believe that giving children a good beginning is vital to helping kids–and our economy–thrive.Sara Watson, National Director, ReadyNation
What They're Saying
“Makes the vivid and compelling case that investing in families benefits us all”
— Matthew E. Melmed, Executive Director, Zero To Three
“A splendid blend of first-rate case studies and vital voices”
— David Lawrence Jr., Publisher (ret.), Miami Herald
“Powerfully illustrates why business leaders are committed to early learning”
— Sara Watson, National Director, ReadyNation