ross gittins in the sydney morning herald has an excellent report on the benefits of early childhood intervention. code for better child raising, this report takes an economic, rather than a social or judgemental view of the benefits to society of better parenting, and discusses the role the government can play in reducing inequality and disadvantage in future generation by supporting programs that get involved before kids turn 8.
ross’ interest in the subject has been piqued by work from james heckman from the university of chigago (oh, and nobel prize winner in the field of economic sciences). basically, he has found that getting involved early with programs to support better parenting has massive oonsequences. using a case study of the perry preschool project from around 30 years ago in michigan (capital city detriot, home to eminem and subject of many negative social sterotypes played out in movies like 8 mile), heckman makes the case that early intevention into the development of children is much more effective in influencing lifetime outcomes than better schooling, etc.
if the study is true – and the first 5 years of a child’s life have profound influence on their intelligence, their likelihood to succeed in life and reduce their likelihood to commit crime and be subject of welfare – would society begin to accept that intervention in parenting – one of the few areas of society to still be treated as a social taboo – or would people continue to take the approach that you can’t tell them how to raise their family (but keep the welfare cheques now and in the future rolling in so we can raise the kids to be bogans the way we want to)?
additionally, what, from a macro or policy perspective, do these considerations have on the legitimacy of the indigenous partnerships programs of the australian government?