James J. Heckman, Nobel prize winner, on early childhood health and education

Prof. James J. Heckman, a Nobel prize-winning professor of economics and a foundational statistician,

Source: uchicago.edu

has recently served as a US Presidential advisor on early childhood health and education. His scientific practice is generally a model of non-partisan, even-handed scholarship. He has assembled a summary of scientific research on early childhood health and education entitled, “Capability Formation, Early Intervention, and Long-Term Health” —

http://www.partnershipforsuccess.org/uploads/20081021_capabilformchiDISP20080921ajlt11.pdf

Two striking studies cited on the 38th slide within Prof. Heckman’s compendium above pertain to the strong relationship between breastfeeding and childhood intelligence.

The contribution of breastfeeding as an advancement in public health over the past six decades has been due in great part to the work of the La Leche League International–

http://www.llli.org/

In my article posted on this blog page, Reynold Hillenbrand: A Reassessment, I chronicle the connection between the La Leche League and Catholic Action.

Why breastfeeding is not a central public health, community development, and educational strategy, despite the scientific evidence in its favor, has much to do with bad science and bad politics. Our society is not prepared to accommodate mothers who breastfeed their babies, whether in the workplace, the home, or society in general, by allocating time and space to mothers who do so. Those educators and change agents who do not, in the face of scientific evidence, support accommodations for the breastfeeding of children, make a fundamental strategic mistake.

For a critical exchange on Prof. Heckman’s work on early childhood, please see–

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/09/10/nobel-laureate-james-heckman-responds-to-cato-stimulus-analysis/

For a recent article on Prof. Heckman’s approach to IQ, and “grit”–

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/08/02/grit_iq_is_overrated/

An NPR interview with Prof. Heckman–

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111572288

© Copyright 2009, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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One Response to “James J. Heckman, Nobel prize winner, on early childhood health and education”

  1. […] see my earlier blog post on James J. Heckman, which is also pertinent to this […]

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