Monday, February 20, 2012


I live near Oakland, and recently had to find a creative way to get myself and my son home after his hockey game, carefully avoiding the roads that were closed due to protestors from the Occupy movement clashing with local police officers.  While I "get" the basic concept of the occupiers (I think), I would like to see some attention given to research on early childhood education as a remedy for many of the social ills that the occupiers are protesting.

When I was teaching Kindergarten, I had an editorial cartoon hanging on the side of a file cabinet in my classroom.  It showed people picketing on the front steps of the state capitol, with signs protesting that they didn't need to increase funding for education, just build more prisons.  Unfortunately, 25 years later, that still seems to be the unspoken sentiment.  Later, when I worked for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, I heard a bureaucratic speech describing how prison planning is simple when you just take the number of at-risk second graders and age them out 10 years.  

My business partner and I started KidCentric 12 years ago with the hopes of showing companies how child care can be a great social equalizer; provide the custodian's child with the same access to high-quality early education that the CEO's child has.  I still think it's a great concept that could right many of the wrongs in our society.  (Unfortunately, the economic downturn has not done wonders for employer-sponsored child care programs.)  

Research has shown repeatedly that high-quality child care can increase high school graduation rates, decrease incarcerations, and decrease receipt of government financial assistance.  Overall, high-quality child care programs return $7 for every $1 invested.  Certainly seems worthwhile.

At some point, we , as a society, need to recognize that, yes, high-quality preschool is not cheap, but the return on investment shows that it is money well-spent.  Perhaps it's time to Occupy Daycare. 

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