Kudos for Heckman

Thanks for reprinting the N.Y. Times article by CC’s Nobel winner, Jim Heckman ’65. As usual, he is original and eminently practical, and he pinpoints a set of policy options with massive benefits across the board, as an approach to narrowing the income gap in the U.S. Other major changes under discussion must be done, but few are as humane, non-doctrinaire, economical, and constructive as his, in so many ways.

Any public school teacher will want to send Heckman a rose.

– Larimore Nicholl ’61

In his article that appeared in the April CC Bulletin, James Heckman ’65 presents a compelling case for the long-term benefit of investing in high-quality early care and education for disadvantaged children. We have the good fortune to work for a nonprofit organization in Colorado Springs that is, as Dr. Heckman recommends, “Growing the Middle Class One Child at a Time” and that has historical ties to CC.

Fifteen years after the founding of CC, a group of visionary women, including Alice Bemis Taylor, recognized the need for child care for working women and established the Colorado Springs Day Nursery Association. In 1921, Mrs. Taylor announced she would provide funding to have a building constructed, and the result was the beautiful building just south of downtown Colorado Springs, The Day Nursery. Over the years, the Day Nursery Association grew and merged with other child care organizations, and while officially still the Colorado Springs Day Nursery, is today doing business as Early Connections Learning Centers, to reflect the comprehensive, high-quality care and learning that is provided to approximately 360 children daily at multiple sites. The Historic Day Nursery building now houses the organization’s corporate offices and still welcomes 85 children through its doors daily.

Investment in young children for the long-term benefit of the community as a whole was a concept which Mrs. Taylor and her co-founders certainly embraced and which, over a century later, Dr. Heckman endorses. As he points out, character skills are as important as cognitive skills in determining success in life, and investment-worthy programs address both in the critical first years of a child’s life.

All children, regardless of their family’s circumstances, deserve a good start in life and the opportunity to grow into capable, productive adults. We encourage fellow CC alumni to support high-quality early care and education for disadvantaged children as a way to close the achievement gap, increase economic productivity and promote social mobility. Our hope is that the preschoolers we see today will be tomorrow’s CC students.

– Karen Serafini Wiedemann ’74, grant resource director

– Debbie Patton Swanson ’81 P’10, vice president of development
Early Connections Learning Centers, Colorado Springs

Highlights of 1968

Many of us have learned from experience or great teachers like Bill Hochman that 1968 was a tumultuous year in American history. Fortunately, that discordant year also produced CC graduates the likes of David Burnett and Diane Brown Benninghoff, whose good works to make our country a better place were celebrated in the spring Colorado College Bulletin. Both David, through his pioneering photo journalism work, and Diane, through her creative development of CC’s alumni program, are tremendous exemplars of why Colorado College is such a special place. Thanks for highlighting their contributions.

– Edward Goldstein ’79

We welcome your letters to the editor. Please send them to:
Bulletin/Communications, Colorado College
14 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3294
Email: bulletin@coloradocollege.edu