The Achievement gap is a moral and economic problem. The effect of the achievement gap on the economy, both locally and nationally, is stunning. While measuring the economic effects of the achievement gap is an imperfect science, the consulting firm McKinsey and Company estimated that if in the 15 years after the 1983 report ”A Nation at Risk” America had lifted student achievement to internationally competitive benchmarks, we would be reaping significant rewards. Closing the “international achievement gap” would increase US GDP between $1.3 trillion and $2.3 trillion annually. Closing the “racial achievement gap” would generate between $310 billion and $525 billion higher GDP annually. Closing the “income achievement gap” between families who make less than $25,000 and those that make more than $25,000 per year, would increase GDP between $400 billion to $670 billion annually. Additionally, higher student achievement has been directly linked to better health, higher rates of civic engagement, and lower rates of incarceration and poverty.
Compelling Arguments for Early Childhood Education
According to a recent study by the Chicago Child-Parent Centers, students who have attended a pre-K program are 29 percent more likely to graduate from high school; 44 percent less likely to repeat a grade; 41 percent less likely to require special education services; and in general tend to score higher on standardized tests than their peers who did not attend pre-K. These statistics prove that students who start school ahead, stay ahead. We need to give students in low-income communities a chance by providing them with the quality pre-K programs they need to thrive.
Consistently, early childhood education investments prove to have one of the greatest returns of any public investment. Studies have shown that high quality early childhood education has a return on investment between three dollars for every dollar spent to seventeen dollars for every dollar spent in low income, high risk communities.