Did no one else see this article???

I really expected to hear a lot of hoopla about this report, to see it flying around the twitter and blog-sphere.

I was under the weather and hated that I couldn’t get to it before now and was going to miss being part of turning this into a “big deal.”

But I haven’t heard a peep.

I know, I know, it got buried in the “couple of days before Christmas” pile. You haven’t gotten through your RSS reader yet. Or maybe the impact of what this man is saying just hasn’t sunk in yet.

So now my peep has grown into a shout! Please Read It! Read it a couple of times. Forward it (or email from here :-)) to everyone you know who cares about kids, literacy, and education–or anyone who doesn’t but should.

A Nobel prize winning economist, James Hecker, has nailed it. Here are some quotes from the article:

  • To focus as intently as we do on the kindergarten to high school years misses how “the accident of birth is the greatest source of inequality,” (Heckman) said.
  • (Heckman) contends that high-quality programs focused on birth to age 5 produce a higher per-dollar return than K-12 schooling and later job training.
  • (Heckman) attributed the widening gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged to deficits in skills and abilities that begin with inadequate early childhood development.
  • Test scores may measure smarts, not the character that turns knowledge into know-how. “Socio-emotional skills” or “character,” which we don’t often measure, are critical, and include motivation, the ability to work with others, attention, self-regulation, self-esteem and the ability to defer gratification.
  • …the purpose of education is what it has always been: to develop a well-rounded, knowledgeable and adaptable person; to create upward mobility through smarts and character.

Read, check out the links in the article, and share. Heckman just may the key to convincing “the number guys” that what looks like “fuzzy” time in the preschool years, playing and being read to and being talked with, is actually essential for kids’ growth, health, development–and our country’s economic health as well.

Be excited!