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Every Child, Every Promise: Turning Failure Into Action

August 22, 2006
Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman’s 2006 economic case for investing in children has a simple bottom line: “Invest early in children — and don’t stop."

The second half of the sentence, “and don’t stop,” marks a notable departure from Heckman’s previous work, which argued that fundamental skills are produced in the early childhood years and that remediation after the fact was cost-prohibitive. Heckman and Cunha’s updated argument, released as part of the America’s Promise Alliance report, Every Child, Every Promise,  suggests that “cumulative investments yield compounded returns.”  Their new position reflects new developments in neuroscience as well as more sophisticated econometric models that take into account more factors, both on the input and the output side of the equation.


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