I had the opportunity to present some updated analyses of the cost-effectiveness of early childhood investments in Colorado at March’s Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference.
The RMECC itself is a blast as it draws an unusually diverse combination of folks from all corners of the early childhood field, from teachers to directors to government agencies and funders to research and policy folks (like me).
The results show that the current investment in Colorado’s early childhood system yields up to $9 per dollar invested, and that investing in high-quality preschool for 4-year olds will probably recoup its original costs by middle school, primarily through returns to the K-12 system including reduced special education and grade retention rates.
The analyses suggest that one of the most effective ways to invest additional resources (from a cost-benefit perspective) is likely to focus on increasing quality to high-needs, low-income children. This should not be news for folks familiar with the research on the return on investment for early childhood, but it is interesting to see how it plays out at the level of a state.
The full PowerPoint is here (which I presented along with my colleague Simon Workman from APA Consulting).