More than ever, the economic health of a country depends upon the skills, knowledge, and capacities of its people. How does a person acquire these human assets and how can we promote their development? Securing the Future assembles an interdisciplinary team of scholars to investigate the full range of factors—pediatric, psychological, social, and economic—that bear on a child's development into a well-adjusted, economically productive member of society. A central purpose of the volume is to identify sound interventions that will boost human assets, particularly among the disadvantaged. The book provides a comprehensive evaluation of current initiatives and offers a wealth of new suggestions for effective public and private investments in child development.
While children from affluent, highly educated families have good quality child care and an expensive education provided for them, children from poor families make do with informal child care and a public school system that does not always meet their needs. How might we best redress this growing imbalance? The contributors to this volume recommend policies that treat academic attainment together with psychological development and social adjustment. Mentoring programs, for example, promote better school performance by first fostering a young person's motivation to learn. Investments made early in life, such as preschool education, are shown to have the greatest impact on later learning for the least cost.
In their focus upon children, however, the authors do not neglect the important links between generations. Poverty and inequality harm the development of parents and children alike. Interventions that empower parents to fight for better services and better schools are also of great benefit to their children.
Securing the Future shows how investments in child development are both a means to an end and an end in themselves. They benefit the child directly and they also help that child contribute to the well-being of society. This book points us toward more effective strategies for promoting the economic success and the social cohesion of future generations. (author abstract)
Introduction: Investing in Children: What do We Know? What Should We Do? - Sheldon Danziger and Jane Waldfogel
Chapter 1: Trends in and Consequences of Investments in Children - Lisa Lynch
Chapter 2: Rethinking Education and Training Policy: Understanding the Sources of Skill Formation in a Modern Economy - James Heckman and Lance Lochner
Chapter 3: Pathways to Early Child Health and Development - Barry Zuckerman and Robert Kahn
Chapter 4: Early Childhood Experiences and Developmental Competence - Sharon Landesman Ramey and Craig Ramey
Chapter 5: Schooling's Influences on Motivation and Achievement - Jacquelynne Eccles and Allan Wigfield
Chapter 6: Promoting Positive Outcomes for Youth: Resourceful Families and Communities - Margaret Beale Spencer and Dena Phillips Swanson
Chapter 7: The Neighborhood Context of Investing in Children: Facilitating Mechanisms and Undermining Risks - Robert Sampson
Chapter 8: The Transition from School to Work: Is There a Crisis? What can be Done? - Debra Donahoe and Marta Tienda
Chapter 9: New Directions in Job Trainings Strategies for the Disadvantaged - Hillard Pouncy
Chapter 10: Who is Getting a College Education? Family Background and the Growing Gaps in Enrollment - David Ellwood and Thomas Kane