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Pre-K dollars and sense

I wish Ball State University economist Michael Hicks had shared his column on the benefits of early childhood education early enough in this election season for it to have become an issue.

The director of Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research writes of a study he did while working in West Virginia. The state senate there wanted to evaluate the potential effects of pre-K on the economy and state budget. The results, he writes, "were shocking."

"In terms of investment, we found early childhood education outweighed virtually everything else government could do to boost long-run economic performance

and enhance educational outcomes," according to Hicks.

Just to recap a point I've made many times: Indiana is one of only 10 states in the nation that invests no state dollars in early childhood education. In other words, Indiana is failing to invest in the approach that outweighs virtually everything else government can do to boost long-run economic performance and enhance educational outcomes. Doesn't make sense, does it?

A handful of legislative candidates are talking about the benefits of preschool. Those are the candidates with Indiana's best economic and education interests at heart. Find out who they are and vote accordingly.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at kfrancisco@jg.net.

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