Get ‘Em While They’re Young

Considering how much the nation spends on education, around about 5.5 percent of the nation’s economic output in total one would think that students from prosperous backgrounds would not do much better in school than disadvantaged students. However, that is not the case; American students who come from prosperous backgrounds score around 110 points higher on reading assessment tests, which is comparable to how much better the United States does than Tunisia. This is a major problem that explains why compared to other nations, income inequality is passed onto later generations at a much higher rate.

A lot of attention has been focused on higher education opportunities, and debates arise between those who want more money for public education and those who want more standardized  tests. They are missing the importance of starting young, with infants and toddlers. James Heckman is one of the nation’s top economists studying human development and he vouches that investment in the early education of disadvantaged students has large benefits in the long run. Besides improving cognitive abilities, it also improves crucial behaviors of sociability, motivation and self-esteem. Around half of poor five year olds don’t have the math, reading or behavioral skills needed to properly start kindergarten and if kids keep starting school with these benefits, then no amount of funding or adjusting of teachers will help those kids later on in life.


Written by Kevin Zhang


Porter, Eduardo. “ECONOMIC SCENE; Studies Highlight Benefits of Early Education.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Apr. 2013. Web. 03 Apr. 2013. <;.


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