See Boston Review — James J. Heckman: Promoting Social Mobility
Heckman's research provides convincing arguments that early childhood education yields excellent results for disadvantaged communities in contrast to interventions at a later age,such as remedial education for teenagers,adult literacy programmes and rehabilitation for prisoners. Quality of parenting,not just low incomes,deserves more attention in the assessment of childhood disadvantage.
Despite hard economic times,it would be extremely harmful to Irish society if the government were to cut support for early childhood education for the disadvantaged. We don't want to emulate the US where figures for Hispanic and AfroAmerican minority youth show that three quarters of them do not complete High School,a social disaster surely.