Bernanke Champions Early Childhood Education

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Educating children starting at an early age increases their opportunities and benefits the larger economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a video prepared to be shown Tuesday.

Effective education can help reduce poverty, increase lifetime earnings and boost personal satisfaction at home and on the job, Mr. Bernanke said in a prerecorded video prepared for a conference of the Children’s Defense Fund in Cincinnati. The Fed chief didn’t discuss monetary policy in his remarks.

“When individuals are denied opportunities to reach their maximum potential, it harms not only those individuals, of course, but also the larger economy, which depends vitally on having a skilled, productive workforce,” said Mr. Bernanke, noting that his wife is a teacher and that he himself had been a professor.

Starting children’s education at a young age prepares them better for school and makes them more likely to be economically successful and contribute more to society when they are older, Mr. Bernanke said. He pointed to one study showing that three- and four-year-olds who attended a “high-quality” day care for half the day were more likely to own their own homes when they were 40 years old than a control group who didn’t attend the day care. Programs that bolster children’s early skills and involve their parents particularly help disadvantaged children, Mr. Bernanke noted.

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