Can the government build a better generation ? ( part 3 )

One gain? Kids from the program were four times as likely to graduate from college. The kids in the treatment group were no smarter. But you could measure their performance in class, and later ratings of how successful they are in controlling their anger, dealing with their fellow students, negotiating with each other. Economists calculated all the costs and benefits  years later. The Canadians also studied the Child Parent Center, a special half-day pilot program for low-income preschool children in Chicago. The net return to society in reduced social costs alone from the Chicago program was more than $, per child. Bouchard, “It was pretty clear that in applying that type of social programs we would have success in diminishing the vulnerability of our children ( raising children).”

It was inspiring also because the methodology was beautiful. Bouchard and his team looked to the U.S. research and asked themselves “Could investing in young children and their families improve personal outcomes and reap economic benefits in Quebec?” They were convinced it could, and released a report with  recommendations. Bouchard, “But the main thrust of it was that we were to approach the problems well before they manifest themselves, well before.” We had decided that the government should invest in the period from  to . If you had to choose, this is where you had to start with. When Bouchard and his team released the report in , the public reaction was ecstatic. Bouchard, “The title of the report was kind of smashing – ‘We're Crazy About Our Kids,’ Québec Fou de Ses Enfants. I was just astonished at how many reporters, from all over the place was at the press conference, for a governmental report.” And there was something special, there was a buzz around the title ( raising children).

Advocates for children were galvanized. Bouchard, “We met with very, very, very involved people and interested people in the community. They had read the report, they were ready to do something. And there was an enormous pressure on the government to create something significant.”  If you just put the report on the table and then say to government “You should do that,” and go to fishing or hunting or to do something else, it won't happen. You have to have a constituency around the report. It was, like, little projects for a couple of months and after that, they wouldn't have any money to continue. So it was step-by-step asking the government to put in place a real strong system ( raising children).

Next Post »