When it comes to education policy, some people recommend to invest more funds in higher education, in the form of free tuition or loan forgiveness programs, for example. Such ideas, however, overlook some compelling reasons to devote, before all, more funds to parenting, prenatal care, childcare centers, preschools, as well as pre-kindergarten and kindergarten education.
Education is a process that gradually shapes "raw material" (if young people can be called so) into the desired outcome. In this domain, plenty of evidence has shown that once the die is cast, it's very complicated to recast it. It is indeed much more preferable, and much cheaper, both in human and financial terms, to do it right from the start. This reason is elementary.
Nowadays, at least a third of students arrive at colleges underprepared, both academically and psychologically, even if the standards have been downgraded. A study has shown that around two-thirds of students are underprepared for college, at least with regard to numeracy and literacy. In 2015, 38% of 12th grade students performed below the basic achievement level in mathematics, while 28% of them performed below the basic achievement level in reading.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), early learning results in better grades in math and reading, with higher likelihood that children will be successful in school and enroll in college. Another important question: If more funds should be allocated to early education, should they be used to provide more quality childcare centers, or more opportunities for parents to spend time with their kids?
Picture: Portrait of ArsenyTropinin, by Vasily Tropinin (Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons, w/Effects)