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Author(s):James J. Heckman
Title:Schools, Skills, and Synapses
Date:May 2008
Organization:Institute for the Study of Labor
Short Description:Discusses the role of cognitive and noncognitive ability in shaping adult outcomes. Early intervention makes more difference and is more efficient and effective than later measures. 50 percent of the variance in inequality in lifetime earnings is determined by age 18.
Annotation:Intellectual paper discussing the importance of early intervention in environments where stimulus to a child is less likely to develop the noncognitive abilites needed to succeed in later life. Supports the idea that both cognitive and noncognitive skills are needed for success and that these skills can be enhanced. Indicates that "accounting for the ability of a child at the age college decisions are made, tuition costs and schooling quality explain trivial fractions of the gaps in educational attainment by socioeconomic status." Asserts that as currently structured, job training, adult education, and retraining type programs produce low economic returns. Makes the case the situation is not locked in place by "Bell Curve" genetics and can be affected.--MS
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Associated Keywords:
Achievement Gap
Early Childhood Education/School Readiness
P-16 (Pre K - Grade 16) Alignment and Initiatives
Remediation/Developmental Education
Social and Economic Benefits/Economic Development

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