Arne Duncan excerpt at The Washington Post Live hildren & Families Summit 2013’

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, says we have historically not seen an investment in pre-K because “four- year olds don’t vote, don’t have lobbyists, they don’t have PACs.”
March 13, 2013

Arne Duncan

U.S. secretary of education

There is no better investment we can make than in high-quality early childhood education. [Investing more in it] is the right thing to do from an economic standpoint, but more importantly to me, this is the right thing to do from a human potential standpoint.

We’ve seen lots of longitudinal studies [showing a correlation between high-quality preschool and] higher graduation rates, higher college-going rates, lower rates of teenage pregnancies, lower rates of dropouts, lower rates of incarceration long-term, higher rates of employment.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says cuts don’t give American children a level playing field to compete in a globally competitive economy.

Not every study is going to show you the exact same thing. But I think fairly conservative estimates by folks like James Heckman, who’s a lot smarter than I, he’s a Nobel Prize-winning economist, show a return of at least 7 to 1 in our investment. In tough economic times like these, when I think all of us in government are rightfully challenged to say: Every dollar you are spending, what are the benefits for taxpayers, for the country?

Two- and 3- and 4-year-olds don’t vote; they don’t have lobbyists; they don’t have PACs. But for all the challenges, for all the dysfunction we see now in Washington, I’m actually pretty hopeful [that Congress will fund expanding pre-K].

Our children here in America are as smart, talented, committed, creative, entrepreneurial as children anywhere in the world. But we have to give them a level playing field on which to compete in a globally competitive economy. And I promise you that Singapore, South Korea, India and China, their educational strategy is not sequestration.

For Secretary Duncan’s full bio, click here.

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