Chicago – Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman has issued the following statement in response to today’s bipartisan introduction of the Strong Start for Children Act.
“The Strong Start for Children Act is an important step in the right direction in building our nation’s economic future. Human capital is a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure. Quality birth-to-five early childhood education for disadvantaged children can simultaneously reduce inequality and boost productivity in America. A solid body of research shows the cost-effectiveness of early childhood development in helping to prevent achievement gaps, boost school achievement, promote better health outcomes, improve our workforce, increase productivity and reduce the need for costly social spending.
“Our nation faces significant economic and social challenges. Investing in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children is an important component of a strategy for developing skills that help people thrive and society prosper. It is socially fair and economically efficient. As Congress considers this bill, policymakers can promote its success by staying true to a few essential principles: focus on disadvantaged families, start at birth, integrate health, develop cognitive and character skills, and encourage local innovation in quality programs from birth to age five.”
James Heckman is a Nobel Laureate economist and Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he has served since 1973 and where he directs the Economics Research Center and the Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School. He is also the professor of Science and Society at University College Dublin and a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation. In addition, he is the director of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group.