Economic development schemes based on attracting specific companies or industries often waste taxpayer dollars. Investment in early childhood development, by contrast, yields high and dependable returns, suggesting that expansion of ECD programs would aid economic growth.
Funding this expansion calls for a public/private endowment to provide ECD scholarships for at-risk children. Scholarships should cover parent mentoring as well as child tuition to qualified ECD programs.
Government support of the endowment would provide the assurance of long-term commitment. The market-based nature of ECD and parent mentor programs would promise innovation, outcome accountability and quality improvement.