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“Investing now will pay off for children and for the economy in the future.” Timothy Bartik
Today’s Read This Now features a TED Talk from author and economist Timothy Bartik. While most of Bartik’s career has been spent studying local and regional labor markets, he recently shifted his focus to write about how effective early childhood programs can positively impact the economic development within the local economy. While his argument is unorthodox, his approach resonated with me because I agree that well prepared children grow and give back to the community that helped them develop and grow. I realize that every rule has its exception and that not every adult can or is willing to give back to their community; however, I have to believe the ones who do not give back are the exceptions and not the rule.
Developing a better, stronger work force has to be a part of how we educate children especially as the work force changes. The question of how we pay for improvements to education is one that Bartik highlights in his talk (and is a question that we grapple with in education). Bartik tackles this question by reminding us that education reform is a whole community issue (regardless if they are other people’s children). Here is his essential question: Why pay taxes for other people’s children? Bartik suggest that we should do so because we should all be stakeholders in the success of schools as they prepare children for the future. He also believes real reform in early childhood education will never occur without us all becoming stakeholders. For Bartik, this is not simply a question of economics but a way to build an economy while saving our most precious cargo, our children. — tlb
*Timothy Bartik’s 2011 book, Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development