A report on the cost-benefit impact of Dr. Pascal’s proposal for an Early Learning Program was released today by the Centre for Spatial Economics.
The report states that full-day kindergarten would create 29.3 jobs for every $1-million invested in operations and 20.1 jobs for every $1-million invested in building and renovating classrooms.
It also shows that every $1 invested in early learning would generate a $2.42 return.
In estimating the short- and long-term social and economic impacts of full implementation of Dr. Pascal’s vision, the authors looked at economic gains from education and construction jobs, increased freedom for parents to work and pursue higher education, and reduced drop-out and retention rates.
The program creates jobs for teachers and early-childhood educators who spend their wages in the local economy (an immediate economic benefit), as does building new kindergarten classrooms.
Over the longer term, children enrolled in high quality early-learning programs do better in school, are more healthy and more likely to complete high school and go to college and university. Higher education leads to higher wages and more tax revenue, the report says, while lower health and social costs reduce government spending.
It is important to note that this report examines Dr. Pascal’s full vision laid out in his report and not the Full Day Learning program currently being implemented by the Ontario Government. Perhaps most significant is the lack of extended-day and full-year care being offered in Phase 1 schools. Fairholm argues that “the extended-day and full-year option provides the best opportunity for parents to enter or remain in the workforce, and are the two elements that deliver many of the plan’s economic benefits”.
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