Discussion 2: Children, Childhood, and the Economic Argument—Unintended Consequences
You have analyzed and evaluated several resources this week that present reasons why increased funding of development and learning in the early years seems to substantially contribute to a nation’s well-being. The pervasive line of reasoning, presented mainly by economists, revolves around the idea that investment in the early years will provide concrete payback in the future. Some of the benefits of quality early child care and education which are already established through research include individuals’ increased likelihood to become lifelong learners, a reduction in the use of welfare systems, and a lowering of juvenile crime rates. The main payback will be a better-prepared, better-trained workforce that will help to secure the economic future of the nation. The economists who write and speak passionately about the value of investing in early child care and education present these intended consequences with great clarity.
Yet, as you also know, besides intended consequences, every action or policy inevitably has unintended consequences. The unintended consequences of the economic argument for investing in early childhood form the focus of the second Discussion this week. In preparation, review the resources for this week that represent economists’ ideas about the importance of investing in early childhood care and education, and consider these questions:
- What might be some of the unintended consequences for the concept of “childhood,” when childhood is primarily, or exclusively, defined as an investment opportunity with future payback expectations? Substantiate your thinking by citing specific credible resources (for example, other journal articles, information on websites of early childhood organizations, etc.)
- What might be some unintended consequences for play and creative expression opportunities in early childhood care and education environments when these activities cannot be directly and obviously linked to future payback? Or, do you see evidence that they are being directly linked? And if so, in what ways? Substantiate your thinking by citing specific credible resources.
- Your response (approximately one page in length) to the questions above. Refer to the required readings and/or the media segment, as well as to additional resources that substantiate your thinking.
- A citation in APA format of at least two resources that you used to support your Discussion about unintended consequences.
Readings and Resources
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