Last week, I attended a breakfast panel on the importance of early childhood education. It showed one segment of a fantastic six-part documentary called The Raising of America, Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation. We watched the episode, “Are We Crazy About Our Kids?” (It’s the video at the top of this post.) It was an enlightening event; I thought I knew quite a bit about the advantages of early education (birth to 5), especially in poor urban areas, but the economics of investing in quality early childcare are even more pronounced than I realized. (The takeaway stat for armchair economists: For every $1 invested in quality early childhood care/education, society gets back anywhere from $7-$16. A huge economic benefit.)
Afterward, panelist/Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates noted that the city doesn’t spend a lot of money on education directly, so Dallas chips in where it can — by (under)funding libraries, making public space available for edu-events, etc. I asked her if she favored cities having more skin in the game, as it were, by looking at mayoral oversight — or at least partial appointment power — of Dallas ISD’s school board. She smiled and sort of said she kinda favored it, if it was proven to be the right thing to do and everyone else favored it. She wasn’t forgainst it, in other words.
Now, let me be clear: [...]Full Story