50 Years After Perry: Quality Early Childhood Has Second Generation Effect, Study Finds


The truth about the news, you don't really know the most important stuff on the first day of a big news story. May have to follow up and follow up sometimes for years. And in this case decades, more than fifty years ago, educators enrolled children from poor families in a preschool program in insulating. Michigan, what came to be known as the Perry preschool project, showed that early childhood, interventions have powerful effects for disadvantaged kids. Now, there's new work on this project, and NPR social science correspondent chunk of them spoke with Noel K. So what's the new findings while to understand the finding? No, all you have to understand the context of the program was initially started to boost the academic scores of kids. But in a few years, data showed it didn't do that. But as research track the kids into adulthood, they found that kids who went through the program had better life outcomes than kids into control group. They had more earnings more stable long-term relationships less trouble with the law. The new compares the children of participants who went through the program with the children of participants who are in the control group. Here's James Heckman economist at the university of Chicago and a winner of the Nobel prize. The children of the participants are healthier, earning more. They have a better social emotional skills are more likely to graduate high school and go onto college less likely to be incarcerated or even have ever been arrested. So what you see is beneficial effects that go onto the next generation. So you're a kid whose parents, went through this program and got the early intervention. And today, you are more likely to be doing better than the child of someone who didn't get this early intervention. That's right now what then did the early intervention entail? What was what were these kids getting the program provided in no training and stimulating environment kids, learn things like communication skills, basic arithmetic, and what I call non cognitive skills. How to stay with the task if you don't succeed at first, how to work with us how to cooperate with others the program. Sent teachers into the homes of the kids, where they worked with the parents to decide stimulating activities for the kids, so that the positive environment of the program could be extended into the home. I mean, what's so interesting about this is you hear about these interventions and you just assume okay, they work in the moment, if they work at all they work in the moment, it isn't a mockup of finding Noel, Heckman and his co author on the new study, garnish popular say, there's also a relatively simple explanation for the finding the original group at turns out, they're more likely to have stable families and earnings. So they provide their own children with a nurturing environment far richer, than that is for the non treated children. This is a social program that not only benefits the recipient it goes on. And the gift that keeps on giving. If you will now Heckman says that expanding high-quality programs like Perry will definitely not be cheap. But I think the data shows that the multigenerational return on investment. It is simply staggering one more thing about this. It's really interesting, you said at the beginning that the original aim of this program was to get these kids grades up and that didn't work. That's exactly right. I mean, the study was started in one thousand nine hundred sixty s when cognitive scaled inability was seen as the be all and end off a successful life. I think what this study showed that, in many ways, cognitive abilities, doing wet on a test is actually not what drives your success in life? If these non cognitive skills, conscientiousness, grit resilience. These are the things that come in whether people are

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