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Ooey Gooey, Inc. » Notes from Workshops I Attended » Dr Art Rolnick, keynote, Whitearth Conference, 2012

Dr Art Rolnick, keynote, Whitearth Conference, 2012


The research is overflowing! Early childhood education is our best public investment.


Whitearth Conference, 2012



you asked an economist to speak so it shouldn’t surprise you that we are talking about economics!


He was invited in 2008 to speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival


Spoke with Rahm Emmanuel (who at the time was running Obama’s campaign) to make a case for why the Fed gov’t should be more invested in #ece


Emmanuel (now mayor of Chicago) asked him 3 questions:


1. How is someone with federal reserve get involved with #ece? (ROLNICK thought it was limited to K)

2. Give me most current research (ROLNICK quoted the Perry Project stats)

3. How are you going to make it happen (start with most vulnerable)

Start early

Empower parents

Make the ENV safe and nurturing


Emmanuel told him that YOU better be able to bring it to scale >> meaning, ramp it up.  I can’t clone Geoffrey Canada.  I need to be able to duplicate it.  I need to be able to bring it to scale, “I can’t clone Geoffrey.”


>> “scholarship” = mentoring OLDS study


QUOTE>> (I thought that ece was kindergarden)


Our argument needs to go deeper than, “it’s the right thing to do.”

Policy makers need more than a moral argument.


He suggested that you could probably make an economic case for the importance of ece…


And he joked it was the worst thing he ever did, because they believed him.


He is giving an overview of the Perry Preschool Project data.


What was the ROI?

Taking into consideration:

Dollar benefits

Dollar costs

Inflation adjustments


18% inflation adjusted return (conservative bc didn’t have data on parents – who went back to school, siblings, who followed in footsteps, and children of the children who attended)


“it would be funded overnight”


double digit returns




he spent a few minutes name dropping who was on the board

raised 20mil for Parent Aware a 4 star rating system

can’t put kids in qual ece programs if they don’t exist


if income was of a certain level they said CONGRATS you won a scholarship to go to 3/4 star program in Frog Town



Minnesota school readiness test/assessment – many kids in MN can’t pass it.

32 metrics

cog and social skills

we expect scholarship kids to pass the test


the 3 and 4 star rated programs they go to are expected to meet these outcomes


(I want a copy of the assessment)


the biggest problem was that the parents were (now) so empowered that they wondered if the K-3 program will be that good!


He is confident based on the data they have collected that the kids who test “ready” will be proficient in 3rd grade.


It appears as though he was influential in the #ece component of RTTT


MN got 45mil $ ece RTTT to replicate what they did in Frog Town in 1 urban, 1 rural and 1 here in white earth.



75% of the kids in Detroit don’t graduate high school


we lack leadership – not money.


He asked >> Is the opportunity gap the new achievement gap?


He said it’s not a budget issue, it’s a priority issue.

I asked >> Is that not a MORAL issue/argument.


ECE people need to be edgy-er and we need to stop threatening to leave.

Its not like a stadium – can’t threaten to move the team. We’re taking the kids to Wisconsin!


Zero sum game – moving jobs around.

We need investment in human capital.


We need to make this a VISIBLE issue bc it effects directly the invisibles.

Kids (who don’t vote)

And their parents (who often don’t vote)




And that’s a wrap.



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