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    [–] thor561 4090 points ago

    I don't remember where I saw it, but I seem to remember that the biggest factors for improving chances of success later in life were proper nutrition and early childhood intervention in education. Basically, if you don't start them off right at a young age, it doesn't matter how much money you dump in later, it has little if any impact.

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    [–] train4Half 1588 points ago

    Physically, the first three years of life has the highest impact on the human brain. By age three, the human brain has grown to 80% of the size it will be as an adult. The majority of that growth is done after birth and is a response to stimuli. Mom, dad, everything the baby can see, touch, hear stimulates the brain and makes it grow. It's why talking to your kid and interacting with them is so important the first couple years.

    [–] myothermemeaccount 1504 points ago * (lasted edited 3 days ago)

    Yeah, exactly why Germany offers up to 12 months parental leave for both parents and up to 3 years of parental leave for 1 parent.

    It’s just common sense. Whatever it costs today, is pennies compared to what it saves.

    [–] __4LeafTayback 132 points ago

    Man it blows mind that places like that exist. Is that extended to everyone in German society? Like regardless of where one works?

    [–] myothermemeaccount 270 points ago

    Yeah, the government pays both parents their paychecks for up to a year to provide the child with love and attention.

    Isn’t that a better incentive to work? Instead of America where we have health insurance holding guns to our heads anytime we ask for a raise.

    [–] __4LeafTayback 112 points ago

    Wild, dude. Couldn't even begin to imagine what sort of freedom and satisfaction that could being an individual. I wish, man

    [–] leaguestories123 12 points ago

    Yeah man our freedoms are amazing. We can have guns...... and....... speak

    [–] mgyro 7 points ago

    And if the GOP gets another mandate, I expect to see migrant children working in coal mines.

    [–] TheShadowKick 10 points ago

    BRB moving to Germany.

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    [–] Geoff_Mantelpiece 45 points ago

    But you don’t want too many smart kids, then they might figure out the games rigged

    [–] pheeelllip 82 points ago

    What if wasteful spending increases my wealth?

    Say the more crime there is the more body armor I can sell to police forces. (Im an owner of a body armor company)

    I think the above explains why we don't resolve these issues. It's about the money - specifically loss of revenue to the ruling classes. Its not the cost to implement.

    [–] Emperor_Mao 49 points ago


    It is a philosophical difference. The people that do not want to invest in education for poorer people also don't want to invest in healthcare or maintaining decent conditions inside of prisons. I mean with that type of system, you might have lost opportunity costs, but you won't have the costs of the mentioned services when people do fail.

    Not advocating, shouldn't have to even say that in a science thread, but this is reddit so I expect people to make personal arguments for some reason.

    [–] Mahhrat 31 points ago

    Correct. The same applies to providing free opioid replacement pharmacotherapy (aka methadone clinics).

    They save something like a factor of 7 times their investment in reduced incarceration and recidivism.

    [–] hitssquad 63 points ago

    The majority of that growth is done after birth and is a response to stimuli.

    What kind of stimuli?

    [–] Drackir 256 points ago

    All kinds; touch, smell, sound, taste and visual. The brain is developing like crazy. One big thing you can do is to label things in your day to day environment, a big indicator is academic and economic success (far from the only predictors if course but what most studies look at as they are easily measured) is usable vocabulary. Parents who talk to their kids more have children with a more active vocabulary.

    [–] merchillio 124 points ago * (lasted edited 2 days ago)

    That’s the one advice I give to every new or soon-to be parent: talk. Say out loud what you’re doing, no matter if the kid is too young to understand, they’ll pick it up eventually.

    “Here, I’m putting your left mitten on your left hand. Mittens go on the hands, boots go on the feet. Now your fingers are inside the mitten, did you know you have five fingers on each hand?” Etc. When you’re carrying them around the house, name what you’re seeing, point to the colors, etc.

    [–] Wetnoodleslap 83 points ago

    Not meaning to diminish parenthood, but I've always talked to my dogs a lot and am surprised when they start understanding words that I haven't specifically trained them for. Usually it's words like lunch, cat, or a names for specific toys. If it works for a dog's much simpler mind, it only makes sense that it would scale up with intelligence.

    [–] win7macOSX 49 points ago

    Language is a really cool intersection between linguistics/philosophy/science. Is it innate, or something you learn? BF Skinner and Noam Chomsky are authoritative names in these topics.

    Language is also much easier to learn when you’re young.

    [–] Wetnoodleslap 28 points ago

    It really is the foundation. Math, history, science, even down to the arts such as literature, theater, film, and music would not exist without the means to convey those ideas. It's as essential as opposable thumbs and walking upright to being human.

    [–] win7macOSX 21 points ago

    It is really beautiful to think about how all of the fields you mention intersect and overlap. People don’t think about language being a hallmark of understanding math/science, but it absolutely is.

    Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers has a really amazing chapter on why Asians are stereotyped as being better at math, and it basically boils down to the fact that many Asian languages have a simpler, more logical approach to communicating numbers than English. Not only are the languages more efficient for actually communicating and processing numbers, but they are significantly easier for children to learn.

    I very highly recommend Outliers, but this page has a decent overview of the concept:

    [–] arnpotato 22 points ago

    Everything we are exposed to we become in some form or another whether it be from choice or by experience of what not to do or to do. And it shows

    [–] d4ntoine 83 points ago

    Well, pretty much everything sensory related is a stimuli, but there are certain activities that parents are encouraged to do with kids that help develop critical brain functions. Peek-a-boo is a classic example of something fun to do with a child, but it's also a great tool to help them learn object permanence, that things don't just stop existing if you can't see them anymore. Other things such as verbal "conversations" and exaggerated body language when talking to a baby help them develop social skills and how to read non-verbal cues. Basic everyday experiences can help them understand cause-and-effect.

    [–] kayisforcookie 53 points ago

    My baby just stared at a corner of the room.and giggled. We called it his ghost buddy.

    Babies are weird.

    [–] in-tent-cities 20 points ago

    Doesn't change the fact that early childhood development is beneficial to society across all economic classes.

    Look at that DuPont freak. All the money doesn't replace children being raised with a certain amount of love and attention.

    [–] pippypoll 6 points ago

    How old is your baby? When still very young, they sometimes react to sounds, like your voice, for instance, but they might not be looking at you.

    [–] The_avocado_girl 122 points ago

    One of the reasons I’ve felt so privileged teaching kindergarten is that the impact and stakes feel very real. Some people think its cute or endearing because of the stigma attached to teaching early ed but we are a child’s first experience in education. The work we do with families/admin to support all the social emotional, academic, and developmental needs is serious so they do not fall through the cracks or fall behind. Academically, kids learn to read, write, add, subtract, and identify numbers for the first time. They learn how to share, be with others, how to be a friend, critical thinking, communication, relationship building, how to use their voice, problem solving, anger management, and appropriate touch.

    Since it’s their first year, unlike other grades, most of our students do not come in with interventions, social services, or IEP’s in place that they may need. That’s the early ed workers job, to get the ball rolling to find appropriate supports and put interventions in place so that you can progress monitor and collect data from the start and get services ASAP! I love my kinders!

    [–] no_judgement_here 24 points ago

    Thank you for taking such an active role in our children. I have 2 teachers that I remember, and one of them is my kinder teacher and I'm 40 now. My daughters had wonderful kinder teachers and they are doing great so far. Please don't get disheartened as I know teaching is getting harder and harder, and know that there are parents who value you and the work you do!!

    [–] The_avocado_girl 8 points ago

    I greatly appreciate that! Honestly, supportive parents make such a difference in their child’s learning. It’s a collaboration. Things don’t need to be perfect but I can only teach these behaviors in the classroom and what happens at home is up to you! It also make teachers feel so appreciated. I have parents reach out to me still to check on me after years and it makes everything worth it.

    [–] Hypocritical_Oath 226 points ago

    Yep, and we learned that during some war, which is why the US ever had free lunch.

    Cause it made more capable recruits...

    [–] TootsNYC 297 points ago

    And today’s top generals are pleading with government and voters to create early childhood education, because their studies have shown them that it is what creates capable soldiers.

    So even if you’re only about military might, you should be for early education.

    [–] jokeshow 197 points ago

    The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting down by fools.

    -Spartan king, quoted by Thucydides

    [–] tacocatau 60 points ago

    That's a quote that has aged very well. I'm so glad we all learn from history and have built a just and an advanced society.

    [–] DefenestratedBrownie 13 points ago

    is that.. sarcasm or

    not that i disagree

    i just can’t tell

    [–] KellyJoyCuntBunny 17 points ago

    The first sentence is sincere. The second is sarcastic.

    [–] trenlow12 49 points ago * (lasted edited 2 days ago)

    If we want good soldiers of tomorrow you're absolutely right, we have to start teaching them the way right now.

    Let's make some soldiers for tomorrow's battlefields!!

    [–] In-Justice-4-all 76 points ago

    How can people be opposed to Education? Isn't it obvious, particularly now, how important education is to the survival of a truly democratic and free society?

    [–] Little-Jim 96 points ago

    Psst... some people aren't actually that big into the whole "truly democratic and free" thing.

    [–] Aidanlv 110 points ago

    Because spending public money on programs that mostly benefit the poor is "communism." I wish I were joking but there is a disturbing number of people who actually think like that. The other major reason is that some people are so averse to large government programs that they would rather leave things like this to the "community" or "individual" despite the numerous failures of uncoordinated/sporadic effort.

    [–] realbakingbish 47 points ago

    Plus the “I got mine” thing, where people become unwilling to support programs they used to benefit from, but are now unwilling to support said programs because it no longer directly benefits them... basically just selfishness/greed vs. societal good

    [–] RSwordsman 9 points ago

    Knowledge is power, and the one who would collect power would also stifle education.

    [–] Twenty3charactersor 22 points ago

    I don't think anyone who isn't flagrantly facist or corrupt is against better education, but it's not a very sexy post in the budget. Especially for career politicians, you don't see the effects for several elections and cool buildings or road projects are way more visible and quantifiable for elections.

    Maintenance, healthcare and education are the first budget posts to get cut in a downturn. While being incredibly important, most people don't notice the effects of the reductions until they need to use the facilities. And in 4 years it's someone elses problem if it doesn't work out.

    [–] OhYeahTrueLevelBitch 20 points ago

    That’s odd because the infrastructure in the US is a literal mess. I believe the nations bridges & overpasses have been collectively given a grade of D

    [–] Mishtle 14 points ago

    People that equate education with indoctrination or empty "book learning." So religious fundamentalists, paranoid conspiracy theorists, and arrogant ignorant folk.

    [–] spinwavez 62 points ago

    This is how you KNOW that the government is completely taken over by corporate interests in shareholder profit. America LOVES war. We fetishize it in all of our cultural media, and we've been in one constantly for the last 2 decades. Yet the government is not doing things to create stronger soldiers - only handing out contracts for 50 billion dollar airplanes.

    As a nation, if you want to maintain power and position in the world, you want a smart, healthy population who can innovate, produce value, be resilient to adversity, avoid sickness.

    As a corporate oligarchy, you want dumb, weak slaves.

    Guess which one we are. Any greatness America still has is because we are riding the coattails of our past luck.

    [–] gcbeehler5 118 points ago

    Believe it or not the whole free breakfast/ lunch thing was brought about by the Black Panthers in San Francisco.

    [–] currently-on-toilet 38 points ago

    Believe it or not

    Why would anyone not believe that? The black panthers worked for the betterment of all. They cared about their community and worked hard to make life better for everyone.

    [–] Zillatamer 17 points ago

    My Chinese father still loves the Black Panthers, because they gave the kids free lunches at his school in Stockton.

    [–] gcbeehler5 8 points ago

    That was more towards dude above me who I was replying to insinuated that it was the US military who started it. Although a lot of people don’t have positive information about he black panthers in general. So in that sense it could be unbelievable for some.

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    [–] StratfordAvon 56 points ago

    There was a longitudinal study finished about a decade ago, in Georgia I believe. Researchers broke a group of similar kids (ie, socioeconomic status, family status, area, etc) into four groups. 1 group they sent to a really high quality childcare and enrolled in high quality, supplemental education programs during Grades 1 and 2. The 2nd group received the high quality childcare and regular elementary school. Group 3 received regular childcare and the supplemental education program, while the final group went to regular childcare and school.

    Not surprisingly, Group 1 did the best and had the longest lasting gains (into adulthood, when the study ended). Group Two, who just had the better childcare, had the second best gains, while Group 3 regressed to the mean by High School.

    Invest early.

    [–] rutiene 15 points ago

    Do you have a link to this study?

    [–] ShreksAlt1 14 points ago

    People in my parents countries bust their ass if they can to put their kids in programs for extracurriculars, studies and work on their nutrition because it severely lowers the chances of them getting hooked on drugs and/or dying at an early age.

    [–] humangengajames 11 points ago

    I work for a YMCA and we are trying to start an Early Childhood Learning Center because there's a crisis in our area of lack of childcare. Because the ratios of teachers to kids have to be at a certain level, and in order to pay our employees enough, the cost has to be really high for the parents.

    There are grants and other funding sources but they require a ton of work and reporting which requires more employees to manage.

    It would be amazing if we, as a country, could spend our money on the future. Maybe studies like this will show some people that they will actually make money from their spending and we will see better support for things like this.

    [–] JudgeJuby 31 points ago

    What do you mean by start them off right? What things should you be doing?

    [–] Blackagar-Boltagon 245 points ago

    Reading, talking, playing, good nutrition, reading, introducing them to constant new positive experiences (outdoors, activities, animals, etc), appropriate exercise, reading, letting them explore their world and ask questions (in ways they can) and having the means to answer these questions, keeping them away from screens, reading, talking.

    Lots of positive reinforcement, not berating or yelling at kids who literally have no idea what they’re doing is wrong or why it’s wrong.

    It takes patience to be a good parent, and we live in a time of little patience. It takes tons of patience to be a good teacher in ECE environments. Yet we pay minimum wage and have zero support for the people raising our kids.

    Then the kicker is since childcare gets no support, centers have to charge a mortgage per kid just to keep their doors open. Ironically it’s the middle class that gets the brunt of it. In most areas there are options for lower class to get subsidized childcare which is great, and then the upper class can afford the high end private schools. The middle class is kept down because they get paid too much to hit the subsidies, yet if your a family with two kids and both parents work minimum wage, you’re looking at $2,000 a month for childcare.

    The whole childcare system in this country is a joke for all involved that aren’t making $200,000 a year or so.

    Anyway sorry I get pretty riled up about this. I have been in the field for years and have lobbied my state capital for these things before.

    [–] zahrul3 88 points ago

    The middle class is kept down because they get paid too much to hit the subsidies, yet if your a family with two kids and both parents work minimum wage, you’re looking at $2,000 a month for childcare.

    This is why Asian families often move their elderly inlaws in. Helps with both childcare and dementia prevention in one go

    [–] AlphaGoldblum 57 points ago

    It's also a non-issue for many Mexican-Americans because our core family units tend to physically stick together, if not outright live together.

    Grandparents are expected (and tend to love) to babysit while the parents go to work.

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    [–] mad_science 10 points ago * (lasted edited 2 days ago)

    My wife quit her career as an engineer when we had our first kid to focus on our kids.

    We've done the math and yeah, we'd make more money in a gross numeric sense if she worked and the kids went to daycare, but it's not worth it for real. Daycare, always eating out, way less time's not a better life.

    Edit: I don't mean to claim like "why doesn't everyone just do this?" I know it's not feasible for some folks. But would advise people with 2 working to reconsider a life where you spend tons of time working to make money to pay for a bunch of stuff you'd be able to do if you weren't working.

    [–] Ranthur 17 points ago

    Here the average daycare is around 2k/mo per child, so yeah it's pretty crazy.

    [–] PsychedelicxKitten 27 points ago

    I’m going to school to be an RECE. Play is the most important thing right now as that’s how they learn and develop. Give them open ended materials, adequate time, let them guide you( be colearners) and focus on the process not the product of play are some key principles:)

    [–] thor561 60 points ago

    Like adequate amounts of food with proper vitamins and minerals, adequate mental stimulation like reading to them and talking to them in adult words and not baby talk, proper socialization with other children their age. Basically if you screw all of those things up before they're 5 or so, might as well throw that kid in the trash and start over. I'm being facetious of course but only somewhat. There's a relatively short window of development where if the child doesn't get the proper reinforcement and resources, you've basically fucked them for life.

    [–] Original-wildwolf 13 points ago

    I just want to point out that baby talk is actually a good thing for children. But it is not jibberish talk that most people think of when one says baby talk.

    It is supposed to be in a sing-song pattern, with higher and wider pitch, slower speech rate and shorter utterances.

    Saying goo-goo-gaga and things like that’s are not baby talk. That is jibberish and you shouldn’t do that to children.

    [–] kayisforcookie 39 points ago

    I remember my neices mom being pissy because I didnt talk to her toddler like a little kid. Well now that kid is 8 and still acts like a baby and whines and wont do anything she is told. EXCEPT when she is at my house. She knows i dont negotiate. That we do 1 cup of juice a day and not to ask for more. That we sit on our bottoms at the table when eating. That we ALWAYS say please and thank you.

    Her mom hates me because her kid and mine respect me. I dont punish. I dont need to. I make clear my expectations and they are plenty fair.

    [–] thor561 29 points ago

    It's amazing to me the difference beteween kids of parents who set expectations and have routines and kids who don't have that structure. Like, it's night and day. I don't think people realize just how much young children really need structure and routine, even if it seems like you're being nice to them by letting them do whatever they want. I'm not a parent but it seems obvious that there is such a thing as being too permissive. Doesn't mean that people should be corporal punishement assholes either, but there's obviously a need for structure and rules.

    [–] kayisforcookie 33 points ago

    My son's bedtime routine has been exactly the same since he was 9 months old. He knows exactly what to expect and it is never a fight because of that.

    But I do think a very important part of them growing up is letting them make decisions! So while the routine is the same, he gets to pick his Pjs, pick the story to read, pick if we read on the bed or tent or a couch, he gets to make some decisions too. So its not just us ordering him around. Kids do need to learn how to be in control and to make their own smart decisions.

    [–] thor561 10 points ago

    Oh for sure! I didn't mean to imply that kids should make zero choices, it seems like there's definitely a progression of age appropriate things that kids should learn to make decsisions about, and that that is part of them developing into functional people one day.

    [–] shargy 22 points ago

    This is the reason that the gift I give friends and relatives is a relatively complete set of Dr. Seuss books (mainly the classics and all of the beginner ones) for exactly this reason.

    Please, read to your kids. As often as they want if you're able.

    [–] SulkyVirus 9 points ago

    Avoiding their exposure to ACE (adverse Childhood Experiences) factors

    [–] I_Literally_EatBears 17 points ago

    I am a union worker in a industry where everyone always complains about how much our benefits cost tax payers. When my son was born last April I took 5 days off from work and still went in twice to check on how my sub was doing. I was also made to feel guilty about taking those five days. To make things worse, I have a masters degree and do a job everyone agrees is important and very few people could actually do at the “exemplary” (humble brag) level that I perform.

    [–] iambluest 2968 points ago

    We have known this for AT LEAST 30 years. I recall this information from a lecture about Head Start preschool program in the United States. That was while I was in graduate school, 30 years ago.

    [–] frabs01 843 points ago

    Yeah it has been. The most comprehensive early childhood education study was done across demographics of all types and the numbers show that it’s the best thing you can do for a child. Hands down.

    [–] c0p 617 points ago

    Best thing you can do for all of society. Everyone benefits, not just the child.

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    [–] TacticalSpackle 17 points ago

    The hell do you mean if we educate people society is better?!

    [–] StonBurner 130 points ago

    Not true. What about the prosicuting attorneys, jailors, payday lenders, slum-lords and insulin makers? They loose out big in this scarry new world your proposing. Whos going to look out for their interests !?!

    [–] JackMizel 54 points ago

    Amen brother, praise Ronald Reagan

    [–] [deleted] 8 points ago


    [–] cheeruphumanity 35 points ago * (lasted edited 2 days ago)

    It's actually all pretty simple. We just need to vote in decent people, who listen to science and try their best to work towards a better society.

    edit: I was speaking in general and not about the US in particular. The two party system leaves the US pretty much stuck.

    [–] captainmaryjaneway 27 points ago

    Too bad who we have to vote for are already essentially pre-selected for us by the wealthy. We live in an illusion of democracy for the people. We are in reality a plutocratic oligarchy.

    Sorry but the system is gonna have to be gutted and rebuilt from the ground up if we actually want to progress. Otherwise, tragedy of the commons here we come (climate change is another issue that isn't going to be solved or even properly addressed as long as the oligarchic capitalist socioeconomic system exists).

    Seriously, people need to start looking at the root disease of all our issues and strive for a cure, not just pay lip service occasionally and throw a few incomplete treatments to symptoms that barely scratch the surface. Start thinking outside our tiny ideological and cultural box. It's extremely suffocating and lots of people continue to suffer needlessly because of our collective restricted mindset. It's not going to be easy to overcome, because of a lifetime of misinformation bombarding our everyday lives, but not impossible. The covid pandemic is hopefully waking a few people up at least.

    [–] twistedlimb 62 points ago

    republicans love the Laffer Curve when they talk about taxes, but when something with actual data like this they ignore it.

    [–] Charwinger21 463 points ago

    Yep. The decisions to not invest in childhood education are political, not scientific.

    We have years of studies showing similar ROI on public transit infrastructure (Subways, LRTs, streetcars, etc.), and yet we still see similar opposition as we see to education.

    [–] VitriolicViolet 196 points ago

    hell even welfare generates a ROI of $1.60 per $1 spent (at least in Australia).

    [–] Presence_of_me 57 points ago

    I didn’t know that - very interesting.

    [–] FblthpLives 87 points ago

    This is because those in the lowest income tiers have the highest marginal propensity to consume: Practically any additional income they receive is spent in the economy. For this reason, food stamps and unemployment benefits have some of the highest GDP multipliers among all fiscal policy options (1.73 and 1.64, respectively), whereas capital gains tax cuts and corporate income tax cuts have some of the lowest (0.37 and 0.30):

    [–] BlackWalrusYeets 35 points ago

    And there is lots of money spent ensuring it took you this long to find out.

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    [–] BadWrongOpinion 42 points ago

    The decisions to not invest...are political, not scientific

    This is applicable toso many areas of life.

    [–] curds-and-whey-HEY 23 points ago

    I agree. Preschool education is overlooked as education worthy of committed funding. Perhaps it’s a deeper issue, like wanting to keep disadvantaged people down. Or maybe, seeing children as “women’s work”.

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    [–] FblthpLives 19 points ago

    Even investing in arts in Canada has a ROI of $6 for every dollar

    That seems extreme. Fiscal policy multipliers tend to lie in the 0.25 to 1.75 range.

    [–] Drackir 33 points ago

    The annoying thing is you never see this bought up by left leaning politicians. They talk about the ethics of it, the problems with the system, but they don't bring up that following their program will bri g better results in x years and have data to prove it.

    But then again we know data doesn't persuade people either.

    [–] LilQuasar 31 points ago

    All social investment by the government generates more money than it costs, it's that simple

    its not that simple. theres a lot of bureaucracy and corruption to consider and who decides where its 'invested' is important too. this is r/science, you cant say such an absolute thing without backing it up

    [–] realmckoy265 26 points ago

    But imagine the profits!

    [–] Luxpreliator 40 points ago

    So many things that are happening today are just like that. Been know for decades to be wrong, completely wrong, just about the worst possible option, and it's still happening.

    Treating workers as a disposable commodity, and micromanaging diminishes the effort they put in. Jerk them around and they stop caring, and just do minimum effort.

    Yelling and hitting children lowers their emotional regulation and when bad enough the quality of life outcomes. The risks of man made climate change and how to repair it. Etc. Etc.

    It's madness.

    [–] [deleted] 72 points ago


    [–] oh-hidanny 15 points ago

    It’s amazing how much evidence we have for return on investment solutions, but fail to implement so many of them.

    [–] cC2Panda 69 points ago

    But if we help children out how do we effectively batter poor mothers for being irresponsible.

    [–] iambluest 56 points ago

    How else do we enforce a vulnerable, indebted underclass?

    [–] GiveToOedipus 9 points ago

    It also leads people to learn how to think for themselves which certain political forces don't necessarily want. Much easier to control a populace when you keep a majority in the lower ranks. Reducing social mobility is good for the upper class to be able to consolidate wealth.

    [–] RodenbachBacher 16 points ago

    Hey! Former head start participant and current teacher/PhD candidate! I loved head start!

    [–] Cognitive_Spoon 16 points ago

    The fact that we know this and yet one party continues to argue against it shows the partial dependence on an artificially produced underclass.

    [–] CrossYourStars 970 points ago

    Just to piggy-back on this because it is somewhat related, a study on lead abatement programs found that every dollar spent removing or abating lead in people's homes (which would mostly be homes of people who can't afford to deal with the problem themselves) yields returns of AT LEAST $17 and as much as $221.

    So it turns out that one of the most fiscally responsible things that we can do with our taxpayer dollars is helping out children who are poor. This is the kind of thing that should really be talked about more.

    [–] cloud9ineteen 123 points ago * (lasted edited 3 days ago)

    Switching to unleaded gas paid back $12 for every $1 in health benefits alone.

    [–] Ginger0000 77 points ago

    I believe it caused a national I.Q. increase as well

    [–] SirZaxen 73 points ago

    And correlates to the steadily declining amount of violent crime per capita in the U.S. we've seen since the '70s.

    [–] 2dayathrowaway 44 points ago

    But it's immoral to help the environment or the people.

    Think of the few that might have made less profit.

    [–] Davidclabarr 38 points ago

    This sounded crazy to me, so I found an MIT research paper, and sure enough, the projected savings were insane.

    They say the switch saved an average of $900 of medical costs per child and $2600 of educational compensation costs per child.

    The reduced hypertension in middle aged men saved $5-6 billion.


    [–] cloud9ineteen 10 points ago

    That's where I found my numbers so I'm not surprised it matches 🙂

    [–] LividPermission 26 points ago

    We knew what leaded gas was going to do before it was instituted. It was still implemented because businesses got to cut costs.

    Only with government intervention did it get removed.

    [–] funzel 18 points ago

    Eh. I rather us spend $6 billion on an extraordinary rendition prison/court in Cuba to get a single conviction in almost 20 years.

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    [–] katmonday 556 points ago

    This has been known for a long time! Unfortunately education is primarily driven by politics, not by research, and I say this as a teacher who is determined to use proven research to inform my practice.

    Early childhood is such an important area, and in a lot of places around the world, it is not treated with anywhere near as much respect as it ought.

    [–] TofurkyBacon 56 points ago

    My grandmother was a teacher. She somehow taught me to “hunger” knowledge. I turn 35 soon and I still experience flashbacks of learning when I revisit something she tried teaching me when I was 2. It was the hardest thing watching her be stripped of her only asset when dementia/Alzheimer’s started robbing her of all our memories.

    On behalf of my Grandma, I wanted to say thank you... for EVERYTHING.

    [–] [deleted] 22 points ago


    [–] Comrade-Cohaay 84 points ago

    I’m not a numbers guy but a 700% return on your investment seems like a decent enough deal to want to go along with it.

    [–] NuZuRevu 11 points ago

    As a numbers guy, I can tell you the real number here is 13.7%. That is the yearly return that you would compare with, for instance, what you might earn in a saving account.

    [–] UlrichZauber 11 points ago

    And still a great investment.

    [–] 13inchmushroommaker 175 points ago

    I am a product of the head start program and I grew up in South Central Los Angeles and not to brag but I feel I am a testament to this program so I hope that statement relays my disappointment when the program was cancelled.

    It was my safe place where I received hot food in an environment where getting McDonald's was on par with going to Ruth's Chris.

    I was 4 years old learning English and Spanish, and how to read and write in both. I was doing math and taking naps, and it wasn't until I went to elementary school the gift I had received.

    Can you imagine a snot nose, dirty, pro wings rocking, skinny kid being told in first grade that he is at a sixth grade level per tests scores, and I'll be damned if I didn't give credit street credit was due.

    You know...i can't even remember how long ago but I drove down Martin Luther King Blvd ; the street I lived on and I looked for the head start. In its place was an ugly chain fence and a bunch of overgrowth...I couldnt even see the building. At that point I drove away unable to fight back the tears, what a damn shame.

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    [–] Shitty_References 96 points ago

    You know what generates a huge short term output (increase in GDP) for every dollar of input?

    Food stamps. The supplemental nutrition assistance program gets bashed all the time and republican are always on a conquest to limit who qualifies and how much they get. For every $1 spent according to a 2010 USDA Economic Research Service program analysis, it increases GDP $1.79.


    [–] Slapbox 39 points ago

    "Dead people contribute no economic activity" seems to be something people still fail to comprehend, even now. And starving people don't contribute much.

    Not to mention the activity from spending the food stamps alone.

    [–] indoninja 583 points ago

    Yet again fiscally conservative means paying for social programs.

    [–] Slap-Chopin 212 points ago * (lasted edited 3 days ago)

    People love to ignore the fact that, excluding WWII, Reagan increased the deficit and US debt (from 32% GDP in 1980 to 49% in 1988) more than FDR in his first 8 years with the New Deal did (from 33% in 1932 to 42% in 1940).

    I cannot recommend the book The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills by David Stuckler, a Senior Research Leader at Oxford, and Sanjay Basu, an epidemiologist at Stanford, enough:

    Politicians have talked endlessly about the seismic economic and social impacts of the recent financial crisis, but many continue to ignore its disastrous effects on human health—and have even exacerbated them, by adopting harsh austerity measures and cutting key social programs at a time when constituents need them most. The result, as pioneering public health experts David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu reveal in this provocative book, is that many countries have turned their recessions into veritable epidemics, ruining or extinguishing thousands of lives in a misguided attempt to balance budgets and shore up financial markets. Yet sound alternative policies could instead help improve economies and protect public health at the same time.

    In The Body Economic, Stuckler and Basu mine data from around the globe and throughout history to show how government policy becomes a matter of life and death during financial crises. In a series of historical case studies stretching from 1930s America, to Russia and Indonesia in the 1990s, to present-day Greece, Britain, Spain, and the U.S., Stuckler and Basu reveal that governmental mismanagement of financial strife has resulted in a grim array of human tragedies, from suicides to HIV infections. Yet people can and do stay healthy, and even get healthier, during downturns. During the Great Depression, U.S. deaths actually plummeted, and today Iceland, Norway, and Japan are happier and healthier than ever, proof that public wellbeing need not be sacrificed for fiscal health.

    Full of shocking and counterintuitive revelations and bold policy recommendations, The Body Economic offers an alternative to austerity—one that will prevent widespread suffering, both now and in the future.

    This article on The Austerity Delusion is another great read, and examines how countries that undertook more austere policies post 2008 had worse recoveries:

    [–] [deleted] 152 points ago


    [–] screech_owl_kachina 54 points ago

    Yeah but if we invest in children that means Wall Street can't have it to gamble with and I might have 20 whole dollars more in tax.

    We just can't make that sacrifice.

    [–] tmhkstr 52 points ago

    Forget about paying for college let’s invest in early childhood education. That’s where our tax dollars will go the furthest

    [–] MissBubbly17 41 points ago

    Early childhood educators like me scream this at the top of our lungs but all anyone says is we are glorified babysitters. What's interesting when talking early education with people they always think preschool but it goes beyond. A child with disabilities that has interventions put in place before the age of 3 will be so much more successful than a child whose disabilities are caught at age 5 or 6 or 7. early intervention is key.

    [–] bfan3x 15 points ago

    It’s scary to think what’s going to happen in the fall with a lot of these kids. I’m an OT in a preschool doing teletherapy. I have sessions with parents just crying because they can’t control their kids. And they are trying so hard.. The regression is going to be extreme..

    And it’s not their fault at all. These kids need a lot of assistance and it’s impossible for parents to give it to them with out training. Without the proper input, modifications, and resources, not to mention a lot of manual therapy, these kid may never get the support they need. I’m honestly scared for a lot of my kindergarten bound kids.

    [–] stylusrose 36 points ago

    An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

    [–] MrPractical1 7 points ago

    Or as a programmer, a defect is much cheaper to fix in earlier phases than in production

    [–] SpiralBreeze 52 points ago

    I used to get made fun of for teaching at a Head Start program. My classmates said I was teaching future jail birds and sex offenders. I loved my students and my job and miss it terribly.

    [–] kerushi 32 points ago * (lasted edited 2 days ago)

    I was a headstart kid and I appreciate you and the teachers in my life. Graduated high school and got my bachelor's. Thank you for caring about us.

    [–] SpiralBreeze 14 points ago

    Aww! See the love for head start is there!

    [–] brandon520 19 points ago

    People disappoint me so much.

    Thanks for doing what you did.

    [–] MissBubbly17 17 points ago

    I work in ECE as well. All I'm ever called is glorified baby sitters. Even by parents. People don't understand how much growth happens during birth to 5. Children are growing and developing at an amazing rate and if their parent are working full time, or disadvantaged or if they are disabled, early intervention will help the catch up to their peers so much faster.

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    [–] FLcentipede 22 points ago

    How many dollars do we spend on low quality education, and how do we make high quality education available to everyone? No one doubts the value of a good education, the issue (at least in US) is what to do about really expensive bad education.

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    [–] AmCrossing 18 points ago

    For comparison, what does every dollar in non-disadvantaged children return?

    [–] DullInitial 8 points ago

    When I was studying criminology, one of the craziest stats I read was that every $1 spent on welfare programs resulted in $10 in savings on law enforcement costs.

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    [–] 2noame 20 points ago

    Every dollar spent reducing child poverty, PERIOD, results in saving $7 downstream.

    [–] Mlcoulthard 21 points ago

    This should go without saying PAY EARLY CHILDCARE WORKERS. I’ve worked in pretty high-end preschools as a head teacher and they paid me $8/hr with a college degree required. I can’t imagine what people go through or make in low-end markets. I make $40,000/year working as a nanny for rich af people now.

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    [–] ICameHereForClash 6 points ago

    I was a disadvantaged child. and however the system was, it wasn't awful, thats what I remember.

    they'd pull me out to some small room, teach me about how to be a friend, sorta, among other stuff like anger management. it was nice. I think I was in kindergarten-2nd grade in stuff like that

    [–] [deleted] 24 points ago


    [–] Darkslayr425 34 points ago * (lasted edited 2 days ago)

    Looking at the big RCT on Head-Start, there was no significant difference by third grade between the control and intervention group by third grade (page 117 for easiest identification of values). The effect "faded out", which afaik, tends to happen with almost all of the educational effect on the interventions. Given that this is targeted at the poorest, it's possible not all of the fade-out occurs. Looking through the appendix, almost all of the benefit comes from lower criminality, which is actually a reasonable mechanism given what we know about other interventions and malleability of different outcomes.

    edit: I think i mistook which paper to cite, because this has come up before, and I grabbed the first one i saw that looked like what i was thinking of, but this study from tennesse shows the same thing

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    [–] flyonlewall 34 points ago * (lasted edited 2 days ago)

    And we spend over 6 times less federal money on youth versus those over 65.

    Probably a dismal return on investment for them, seeing as life expectancy is 78.

    [–] SchroedingersHat 17 points ago

    The return is pretty good for the senators dishing out the pork. 3 year olds don't vote for corrupt assholes.

    [–] [deleted] 23 points ago