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Giving Kids a Fair Chance,9780262019132

Giving Kids a Fair Chance

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 3/22/2013
Publisher(s): Mit Pr
Availability: This title is currently not available.


In Giving Kids a Fair Chance, Nobel Prize-winning economist JamesHeckman argues that the accident of birth is the greatest source of inequality in America today.Children born into disadvantage are, by the time they start kindergarten, already at risk ofdropping out of school, teen pregnancy, crime, and a lifetime of low-wage work. This is bad for allthose born into disadvantage and bad for American society. Current social andeducation policies directed toward children focus on improving cognition, yet success in liferequires more than smarts. Heckman calls for a refocus of social policy toward early childhoodinterventions designed to enhance both cognitive abilities and such non-cognitive skills asconfidence and perseverance. This new focus on preschool intervention would emphasize improving theearly environments of disadvantaged children and increasing the quality of parenting whilerespecting the primacy of the family and America's cultural diversity. Heckmanshows that acting early has much greater positive economic and social impact than laterinterventions -- which range from reduced pupil-teacher ratios to adult literacy programs toexpenditures on police -- that draw the most attention in the public policy debate. At a time whenstate and local budgets for early interventions are being cut, Heckman issues an urgent call foraction and offers some practical steps for how to design and pay for newprograms. The debate that follows delves deeply into some of the most fraughtquestions of our time: the sources of inequality, the role of schools in solving social problems,and how to invest public resources most effectively. Mike Rose, Geoffrey Canada, Charles Murray,Carol Dweck, Annette Lareau, and other prominent experts participate.

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