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                         ATTENTION......ATTENTION....THE 2015-2016 VOLUNTEER SCHEDULE IS POSTED...CATHY


Run to Read 2014

Many thanks to all of you who helped us make RUN to Read 2014 another success!  Even though it was 36 degrees and 20 mph winds, our participants came out and enjoyed the event!   I heard a guy who had run with us before tell our super RUN Director Rich Bailey –yet again-  what a well run,  well orchestrated event it always is and how he was looking forward to coming again in 2015!  Thanks to our faithful sponsors, these tough  runners/walkers and you –our very knowledgeable, very helpful volunteers, many children will benefit from our VERY COLD activities Saturday.  THANK YOU !  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!! 

I haven’t finished all the paperwork yet but am very comfortable in saying we will clear at least $6500 for our 2014 RUN.  YEA!!!!  That means over 1800 quality age appropriate books will go into the hands and homes of at-risk young children across Alabama thanks to your efforts.  THANK YOU AGAIN!

Ride to Read 2014

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2015 Bike Run Pictures

The Charter Foundation presented a grant check for $1,000 to the Alabama Kiwanis Foundation to be used for the Jean Dean RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program.  In the picture is Mary Goodson, Assistant Branch Manager of our East University Branch, Rich Bailey-Director of Jean Dean RIF’s “Run to Read” race in November 2014, Cathy Gafford-Director of Jean Dean RIF,
and Linda Lee Drummond-Lee County President.

The Heckman Equation: Early Childhood Education Benefits All

By Brendan Greeley January 16, 2014

The Heckman Equation: Early Childhood Education Benefits All

Photograph by Jean Lachat

“Boy, Jim, sounds like you’ve really turned into a social democrat.” This is what James Heckman remembers Lawrence Summers telling him one day in the early 1990s as they sat in Summers’s office in Washington. Heckman, an economist at the University of Chicago, was laying out his ideas about economic development to Summers, then a Treasury under secretary. Poor families should have guaranteed access to education for their 3- and 4-year-olds, Heckman said. He wasn’t advocating socialism, he told Summers, just the opposite: He was fixing a market failure.

Heckman won a Nobel prize in 2000. He used his speech in Stockholm to underscore the importance of using hard, observable data in making public policy, and he’s continued to gather evidence for the idea he explained to Summers. Focused, personal attention paid to the young children of poor families isn’t some warm, fuzzy notion, he argues. It’s a hard-nosed investment that pays off in lower social welfare costs, decreased crime rates, and increased tax revenue. And he has the numbers to prove it. He calls this the Heckman Equation, and shares it relentlessly in public lectures around the country and the world. “The argument is not just an appeal to the poor,” he says. “We’re saving money for everyone, including the taxpaying middle class and upper class. Right now they’re supporting prisons, health, special education in schools. The benefit is broadly shared.… It’s something that would actually accrue to the whole country.”

Saving money, or at least justifying spending it, is now a requirement in Congress and state capitols, and Heckman’s advocacy is winning the support of politicians in both parties. Last year the White House pointed to his work in its budget proposal for early education grants to states. On Dec. 13, congressional negotiators put $250 million for new early education funding into its omnibus spending bill. And President Obama is expected to make the issue a priority in his upcoming State of the Union speech.

The states are way ahead of Obama. Fifteen governors, more Republicans than Democrats, included new money for early childhood education in their budgets in 2013. In all, states are now spending $400 million more on pre-K than before the economic downturn. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who meets with Heckman often, says much of this activity can be credited to Heckman’s work. “You have this Nobel prize-winning economist and not some soft-hearted someone like me,” says Duncan. “It’s incredibly powerful.”

Heckman grounds his argument in two long-term studies, one begun in the 1960s in Ypsilanti, Mich., and another a decade later in Chapel Hill, N.C. Both provided free preschool to children from lower-income families. In the decades since, researchers have been given periodic access to those children, now adults. At age 40, the subjects from the Ypsilanti study were far more likely than their peers to have graduated from high school and have jobs. They were more likely to own homes and less likely to have needed social services. The boys were more likely to have grown up to raise their own children and less likely ever to have been arrested. Children from the program in Chapel Hill had higher test scores than their peers through adolescence and were more likely to have gone to college. Both studies are well-known to education researchers. Heckman put them under the gimlet eye of a microeconomist.

In 2010 he and several co-authors produced what he called the “first rigorous cost-benefit study” of the Ypsilanti program. The free instruction cost $17,759 per child per year in 2006 dollars (the year they began working with the data). Heckman set out to find out what taxpayers got for that money. He calculated what the program had saved the state and federal government in social welfare, what it had paid out in increased tax revenue from higher wages, and, most significantly, what it had saved in police, court, and prison costs. The initial investment provided what Heckman calls a “return to society” at an annual rate of 7 percent to 10 percent. Put another way, each dollar spent at age 4 is worth between $60 and $300 by age 65. “For my Republican friends, that’s a language they respect,” says Duncan.




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