The persistent achievement gaps among children of different race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status in the United States represent an issue that has commanded public, policy, and research attention on and off for about 100 years now, and it is once again in the forefront of policy-making agendas. Debates nevertheless abound on the most promising and cost-effective strategies to address the problem. We examine critically the available evidence on the benefits and costs of early childhood education and conclude that early, vigorous interventions targeted at disadvantaged children offer the best chance to substantially reduce gaps in school readiness and increase the productivity of our educational systems. The available evidence fails to provide a complete road map for future investments, however. Hence, we propose a program of challenge grants to states and their subunits, coupled with waivers from regulation, to spur innovation and experimentation within this important research area. We provide examples of the types of experiments that could be funded and discuss important considerations in the development and implementation of such a research grants program.
- Early childhood,
- education policy,
- academic performance
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rebecca_maynard/3/