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.

enro

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:

heckman

Photo: leelanuchildrenscenter.org

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

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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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