Concerned New Mexicans have been pushing for expanding early childhood education for years now. And despite our Land Grant Trust Fund being explicitly earmarked for education, our lawmakers won’t fully fund early childhood education.
Those opposing helping our kids make excuses about how we need to get a return on our investments. What they’re missing is that education provides a bigger financial return than monetary investments, according to Nobel Memorial Prize Laureate Professor James Heckman.
According to Professor Heckman: “Those seeking to reduce deficits and strengthen the economy should make significant investments in early childhood education.”
Professor Heckman’s most recent research showed high-quality, birth-to-five early childhood programs for disadvantaged children, which yielded a 13% return on investment per child, per annum through better education, economic, health, and social outcomes.
His ground-breaking work with a consortium of economists, psychologists, statisticians and neuroscientists shows that early childhood development directly influences economic, health and social outcomes for individuals and society. Adverse early environments create deficits in skills and abilities that drive down productivity and increase social costs—thereby adding to financial deficits borne by the public.
A 13% return on investment is much, much higher than our Investment Funds are making by simply limiting themselves to only monetary investment. And earning a 13% return doesn’t even factor in how much children’s lives improve.
Our lawmakers have been short-sighted by denying comprehensive early childhood education, and our children have paid the price. You know the story. New Mexico is first in poverty and last in education. About a third of our kids are food insecure, possibly going to bed hungry at night. And our children’s suffering is generational. Less than half of kids living in poverty are ready for school by the time they're old enough for kindergarten or 1st grade. If we don’t provide their families with quality birth to five educational opportunities, we’ll see yet another generation of New Mexicans left behind.
Please take a stand to vote for progressive candidates. Don't just settle for Democratic candidates because they’re not Republicans. Demand that career Democrats start delivering policies that help people like early childhood education or start voting for new Democrats with fresh ideas. We can’t afford to continue to be penny wise and dollar foolish!
Learn more about the economic benefits of early childhood education: https://heckmanequation.org/resource/invest-in-early-childhood-development-reduce-deficits-strengthen-the-economy/