Can the government build a better generation ? ( part 2 )

And the crime rate between the two groups, the randomized group and the control group, goes down by 50%. So those looked like pretty good outcomes! They became what we think of as model citizens in our country, despite their modest beginnings.  And those outcomes equal hard dollars. The program was expensive. But economists calculated the benefits: the Perry students were more likely to stay on track in school, have higher skilled jobs and contribute more in taxes, and less likely to incur the social costs of welfare and prison. The youngest children of the Perry Preschool studies are now 52 and the oldest children of the Perry Preschool studies are now 56. So we've been following children from the Perry Preschool experiment for 50 years.

What did we learn? Many things. It's very successful in terms of the economic performance of the children. For each dollar invested, you get back somewhere between7% and 10% per annum over the lifetime of the child. Which is a huge rate of return. Narrator That translates, depending on the study, to a payoff of $ to $ for every dollar spent on the program. What we found is some of those same traits that are starting to be fostered early in life - solving problems but also getting along with others and basically planning in a wise way - pay off, and pay off substantially. Yet, despite the benefits, today, public investment in affordable, high-quality programs like Perry is so low, only a fraction of our children can attend them ( raising children).

But up north, just across the U.S. border, one place took note of the lessons offered by the Perry model. Twenty years ago, Quebec was the poorest province in Canada. It was stuck in a recession, and one-quarter of its citizens lived in poverty. The Prime Minister was alarmed by skyrocketing social welfare costs. He asked psychologist Camil Bouchard to head a task force to come up with solutions. Bouchard and his friend Lyse Brunet, a feminist and political activist, became allies in a growing political movement ( raising children).

Brunet In those days in Quebec, there was a lot of marches in the street, and it was a context, I think, where the women's movement was very strong, and it was really the women who put forward the daycare issues. Nine years later, investments in high quality early childcare programs became central to Bouchard's strategy for reining in Quebec's rising social costs. His team was inspired - ironically enough - by research coming out of the United States. Bouchard found the evidence compelling. And not just Perry Preschool, but also Abecedarian, an intensive experiment like Perry, this one in North Carolina, which ran for five years. It provided infant and toddler care, as well as preschool ( raising children).

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