For many kids, the most important years of schooling come before they can even read. Consider the groundbreaking work of the Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, who has repeatedly documented the power of early childhood education. One of his best case studies is the Perry Preschool Experiment, which looked at 123 low-income African-American children from Yspilanti, Michigan. (All the children had IQ scores between 75 and 85.) When the children were three years old, they were randomly assigned to either a treatment group, and given a high-quality preschool education, or to a control group, which received no preschool education at all. The subjects were then tracked over the ensuing decades, with the most recent analysis comparing the groups at the age of 40.
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