It is alarming that, without a shred of evidence, George F. Will dismissed the solid findings on the return on investment in quality early childhood education [“Know thyself, America,” op-ed, July 14]. Those benefits, quoted by President Obama this year, come from my evidence-based analysis of more than 30 years of data from the Perry Preschool program, based on randomly assigned experimental and control groups to assess its effects. It is as good a trial for effectiveness as those we currently rely on to evaluate prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
The economic return on investment — which was determined to be 7 percent to 10 percent per child per year — is based on better education outcomes and adult productivity as well as significant savings in remediation and criminal justice and social welfare spending.
Mr. Will should practice what he preaches. I invite him to offer evidence that my analysis is “unsubstantiated.” Otherwise, I am afraid that he, rather than the Obama administration, is guilty of being indifferent to information.
James J. Heckman, Chicago
The writer is a Nobel Prize laureate in economics.