The NCSL Blog


By Matt Weyer and Madeleine Webster

This week on NCSL’s podcast, "Our American States," host Gene Rose discusses the economic case for early childhood education (ECE) with Art Rolnick and Senator Howard Stephenson (R-Utah).

kids with teacherRolnick is known for his service to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Federal Open Market Committee—the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. His seminal work on the economic returns of ECE has earned numerous awards, including those from the George Lucas Education Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Health.

In this podcast, Rolnick explains how ECE can increase overall educational achievement and attainment, leading to improved state economies and decreased welfare costs, incarceration rates, and reductions in intergenerational poverty.

Stephenson, elected in 1993, serves as the Senate chairman for the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee for Utah, and is also a member of the Senate Education Committee. After learning about the success top-performing countries are having with investing in ECE, and volunteering at local youth detention facilities, Stephenson has acted on research like Rolnick’s by implementing Project UPSTART in Utah and is seeing big returns.

Listen to the podcast.

You can also learn more about closing early learning opportunity gaps under the Every Student Succeeds Act, NCSL’s State Policy and Research for Early Education Working Group, and all issues related to preschool-third grade education, including bill tracking, research, current trends and news and state strategies for improving outcomes for our youngest learners.

Questions? Contact Matt Weyer.

Matt Weyer is a senior policy specialist and Madeleine Webster is a policy specialist in NCSL’s Education Program.

Email Matt

Email Madeleine


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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.