Child Advocates Vow to Spread Word on Early Intervention

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A forum on early childhood development in Cleveland last night (Mon) had panelists vowing to work together and take their cause to the region at large.   Ideastream’s Mark Urycki has details. 

The head of the Fred Rogers Company told the Cleveland Connects forum last night that he celebrates Cuyahoga County for its efforts around improving early childhood development in the coming years. 

The head of the Fred Rogers Company, which produced Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood says he is impressed with the discussion greater Cleveland is having about high quality preschool.   Both Cleveland schools and Cuyahoga County are investing money in it.  William Isler recalled notable re4search by University of Chciago economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman.   He found spending the money on a goiod preschool pays dividends by helping children later in school.

“When he began to see what the return on investment was,  when he started talking about human capital investment – what a lot of economists talk about-  what he was realizing is: the earlier is better.  If you can save $7 dollars by spending $1 dollar I think that’s very significant.”  

Isler quoted other research that found an even larger return on investment, 17 to one,  when it measured how well kids did in the workforce by age 40.

The panelists for the First 2000 Days discussion agreed that they need to spread the word. 

The Cuyahoga County Executive’ Chief of Staff Sharon Sobol-Jordan says they want to invest in kids with quality daycare and preschool.   

“We spend millions of dollars every year on public benefits and  supportive services to help people who have fallen behind.  This investment will allow us to help people get ahead.” 

A proposal to spend 10 million in county dollars is still winding through the budget process.

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings of Shaker Heights says local schools have tried to do it alone but now need to ask for help from the private sector as well as the state and federal governments.  

“We have to reach out to our business, our organizations whether it’s social or emotional needs for students, whether its food banks because we need to provide food for some of our families,  whether it’s just educating our families on how to be good parents.”   

Only 22% of low income young children in Cuyahoga County attend a quality preschool.






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