It's Pretty Clear That Preschool Is Way More Valuable Than College

The extent of one’s early childhood education is a pretty accurate predictor of later success in life.

But America has been much more obsessed with college-level education and beyond.

Today, the Census released a cool infographic breaking down trends in American education. One trend that caught our eye: education enrollment levels by grade between 1970 and 2010.

For 40 years, it seems, we’ve been emphasising college enrollment much more intensely than signing up for preschool and kindergarten.


Photo: Census

We appear to be seriously misaligned.

Here’s the return on investment in education as students get older, via Nobel-laureate and UChicago professor James Heckman’s research:



And here’s the ROI in pre-K learning versus business tax incentives, via the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research:


Photo: Upjohn Institute

Most studies arguing the benefits of college only compare it to high school enrollment.

We may be comparing it to the wrong standard.

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