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Listen as Dennis Lockhart talks early education

Investing in the education of children as young as two-and-a-half years old is smart economic policy.

That is the message Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart is championing as co-chair of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta's Commission on Early Childhood Education. "It's part of what we here in Atlanta like to define as our broad mission, and that's economic vitality," Lockhart said in an audio interview on the value of early education.

The Commission on Early Childhood Education aims to assess the pre-K education landscape in the Atlanta area and recommend a way forward. "Research validates the claim that intervention early in life improves kindergarten readiness, performance in school, and later success in life as indicated by sustained employment, income, and health," Lockhart said.

Research also demonstrates that investment in early education for underprivileged, at-risk children yields the highest return and dramatically reduces the likelihood that those children will later get into trouble with the law. Therefore, the investment not only helps those children but also benefits society, notably through greater productivity and reduced future spending on courts and public safety.