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Nobel Laureate James Heckman ’65 Discusses Education in New York Times

A recent article in The New York Times argues that research conducted by Colorado College alumnus James Heckman ’65, the Nobel Laureate in 2000, underscores the fact that the United States’ approach to education may be misdirected. His data shows that children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof, the article states, of the advantage for young children of living in stimulating environments. “The gap is there before kids walk into kindergarten,” Heckman says.

Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he has served since 1973. His recent research focuses on inequality, human development, and lifecycle skill formation, with a special emphasis on the economics of early childhood.

He directs the Economics Research Center in the Department of Economics and the Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School for Public Policy, and is a law professor at the University of Chicago School of Law. In addition, he is Professor of Science and Society in University College Dublin and a Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. His work has been devoted to the development of a scientific basis for economic policy evaluation.