Because I understand that the other witnesses will make the case for investing in young children (something that I strongly agree with in theory), I will discuss what I see as the underlying question before you: How to invest in preschool programs so that they have a reasonable chance of being a success, or, to borrow a phrase from the investment world, so that they do not go sour? That is the real challenge before you, and the nation.
Because my time is short, I decided to put my testimony in the form of a series of questions and at least partial answers. Also, although there has been a tendency to speak about the goal of "universal preschool," I will address only programs for low-income children because their needs are greatest.
Douglas J. Besharov is the Joseph J. and Violet Jacobs Scholar at AEI.