Are We Crazy About Our Kids? (32 minutes) is one of the supporting episodes to the forthcoming documentary series, The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, now in production.
Science has demonstrated that a child’s experiences during the earliest years are vital to building the foundation for life-long 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.
Studies by former Federal Reserve economist Arthur Rolnick, Nobel laureate James Heckman and others conclude that high-quality early care and pre-school yield huge individual - and public – benefits. Participants in Perry Pre-School, Abcederian and the Chicago Child-Parent Centers were more likely to graduate high school and college, get better jobs and contribute more in taxes; less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, be unemployed, go to jail or incur other social costs. The return on investment? Seven dollars or more for every dollar invested, depending on the study.
Are We Crazy About Our Kids? also travels to Quebec which rolled out a novel jobs and anti-poverty program: they introduced universal early care and preschool (from birth to age five) available to all parents at a cost of $7 a day, along with paid parental leave and other family supports. Child poverty in Quebec fell from the worst to the best in Canada.
Back here in the U.S., child care remains largely haphazard, unregulated, and unaffordable for most. Many states have even cut back funding. But they continue to give billions in tax breaks to corporations in a competition to lure each other’s jobs, what former Fed economist Art Rolnick calls a “zero sum game” because not one net new job is created.
Yet small, high-quality pilot programs continue. One, a pre-school initiative in Salt Lake City has closed the achievement gap between rich and poor, reversing a 30-year national trend.
High quality child-care 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?
The links take you to the beginning of the segment and play to the end of the video.
Use Are We Crazy About Our Kids? as a tool to educate, organize and advocate for investing in high quality early care and preschool—it’s not only good for our kids and it pays for itself several times over! So what is holding us back?
Share Are We Crazy About Our Kids? with your personal and professional networks.
Join The Raising of America public engagement campaign to change the conversation around early child health and development.
FEATURED IN ARE WE CRAZY ABOUT OUR KIDS?
ADDITIONAL EARLY ED RESOURCES
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.
“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, Director, ReadyNation & America's Promise Alliance
“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, Director, ReadyNation
Use the series to change the conversation about we as a society can - and should - do to make a nurturing child ecology the right of all infants.
(30 min each; working titles)
Major funding for The Raising of America provided by:
Additional funding provided by:
This website was supported in part by Grant Number CE002079 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.