In education, there are always a host of programs and policies clamoring for funding. But of all the options policymakers could invest in, the most worthwhile may very well be universal preschool.

Recently, Nobel laureate James Heckman and his colleagues published a report that makes this point loud and clear. Their research analyzes the long-term benefits of a high-quality early-childhood program in North Carolina targeted at serving disadvantaged children and their families.

According to the researchers’ estimates, the long-term financial impact of the program—from labor incomes of participants, improved health and the quality of life, crime, education, and the labor...

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About the Author:

Thomas Arnett is a senior research fellow in education at the Christensen Institute, where he recently published “Teaching in the Machine Age: How innovation can make bad teachers good and good teachers better.