Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bill Crawford: Early intervention can help Mississippi get off of the bottom.

What one thing could Mississippi do to have a more competitive workforce, a healthier population, more college graduates, fewer welfare mothers, better school performance, fewer special needs children, less drug usage and pay for itself seven times over?
Improve cognitive development in at-risk children right from birth.
Sound too good to be true?
Science says otherwise. It has to do with neurotransmitter changes (such as serotonin and dopamine levels), synaptic pruning as a function of experience, gene activation associated with experience, and social transactions.
Say what?
Well, cognitive development deals with fundamental brain skills that enable children to think, read, learn, remember, and pay attention. From these fundamental skills, children develop their capacities to speak, understand, calculate, interact, and deal with complex systems.
Long-term research has now shown two things conclusively: 1) cognitive abilities get firmly set based on what happens to children during their first weeks and months after birth; and 2) targeted early interventions can make a profound difference.
This research has been the life work of Drs. Craig and Sharon Ramey. Leaders in Meridian and other communities will remember the early childhood development work the Rameys did in Mississippi in the 1990s. At that time they were pioneering brain development research at the Civitan International Research Center at the University of Birmingham. Now distinguished research scholars and practitioners at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, the Rameys have pulled together over 40 years of scientific research and tracking to irrefutably show that "cognitive disabilities can be prevented in early childhood."
They presented their findings last week at the first of a series of presentations sponsored by the University of Mississippi Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning. Entitled "Investing in High Quality Early Childhood Education Yields Economic Returns," the series will also feature Dr. James Heckman, Nobel Prize winning economist at the University of Chicago, whose analysis shows the economic returns, and Dr. Pat Levitt, WM Keck Provost Professor of Neurogenetics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, whose research shows how genes and environment together influence typical and atypical brain development.
Significant impacts for early interventions include leveling the playing field in educational performance for at-risk children, improving their college going rates by four to one, reducing their use of public assistance by five to one, and improving their average earnings by 50%.
The cost-benefit analysis by Dr. Heckman of these targeted interventions showed a 7.3 to 1 return on investment by adulthood.
"The health, education, and well-being of children forecast the future of communities and states," said Dr. Craig Ramey. "If we don't get a significant sector of the population started early, it is hard to make a difference later."
So, Mississippi do we want to grow a more productive workforce, smarter kids, and more college graduates while reducing welfare dependence, school retention, and special needs demands? These are real outcomes that would lift Mississippi off the bottom of so many national rankings.
Science is telling us what to do and that the economic payback will be terrific.
Are we in or out?

To learn more about upcoming speakers contact Dr. Cathy Grace at
Crawford is syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

Head Start is early intervention, but studies have proven that it is not effective past the 3rd grade. It’s up to parents. Read to the children, interact with them and teach them. Stay home with them, and don’t spend so much time partying or with boyfriends.

Anonymous said...

This was never a big secret and we shouldn't have needed any research to tell us this.
Common sense should have and did tell us this years ago.
With all of the single mothers raising children by themselves and failing miserably it was easily seen.
Years ago the government encouraged women to have children without getting married. They made it possible for the men who fathered the children to travel on to the next woman and let the government raise their kids.
Turns out the government is not a good parent. Who would have thunk it?
We are already feeding, clothing, and providing a place to live for many children that parents have left on our doorstep. Now we learn it doesn't work.
Now we are supposed to take the child when it is a few weeks old and raise it.
Wouldn't it be much easier, simple, and cheaper to demand the parents raise their children in a manner that would result with the same needs? It has worked every since man climbed down out of the trees.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good for Minnesota or Oregon. This is Mississippi. We doin just fine.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly hard for many to read to their children when they can barely read themselves.

Anonymous said...

The money would be better spent on vasectomies.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Mississippi is doing just great. After all, we’re last in almost everything. The ignorance of these comments is mind-boggling.

Anonymous said...

Small business owner here. Cannot find qualified help to save my life. Most don't have fathers so you can't relate to them about responsibility. When you do find a young person to work they want to be smarter than you... we need more vocational and technical training, dissolve the Jackson public School District and somehow get the message out that this is not working and we need to change it. It's only getting worse. I get totally disgusted when I ask a young person to read a tape measure and lay out dimensions....holy crap! You ought to hear the junk that spews out! And these dang "easy read tapes". Give me a damn break! Please! Ask them to buy work clothes. They wear something on the job they wore on Saturday night! Good grief! No pride whatsoever

Anonymous said...

1:37 Perhaps some day you, too, will recognize the voice of experience. Meanwhile, enjoy your delusions.

Anonymous said...

Just what we need... more government to solve our problems.

Anonymous said...

We need to teach vocations rather than trying to push everyone into college. College isn't for everyone. It should be more in line for those wishing to teach, medical, lawyers, engineering agriculture. Other than that learn from real world experiences rather than from a liberal minded teacher that has never worked outside of the classroom.

Anonymous said...

If we want to do something "for the children" and the state here's an idea:

Arrest all of the deadbeat dads and make them pick up garbage on the highways for minimum wage.

Presto! Clean roads and the kids have mo money!

And no, that's not cruel and unusual punishment.

Anonymous said...

The ignorance of these comments is mind-boggling.

Thanks for reading and helping to pay the JJ light bill.

Anonymous said...

I bet 11:06 has a single eye in the center of his forehead and a Neanderthalic jaw.

Anonymous said...

Here's the plan:
Step 1: Cut budgets to government agencies.
Step 2: Mandate programs that require the agencies to contract out work with certain corporations, at the expense of other programs.
Step 3: Cut staff, pay and benefits so that government agencies lose personnel and expertise.
Step 4: Loudly criticize the government workforce for being inefficient.
Step 5: Outsource government functions to corporate donors, at taxpayer expense.
Step 6: Cut "entitlements" even more. I inherited, got govt subsidies, or just plain bribed my way to get mine. You get yours, loser.
Step 7: Cut rich people's taxes even more, to cut revenue. Complain about government inability to complete work after cuts. Cut budget more to eliminate government oversight, taxes, regulation, courts.
Step 8: Rinse, repeat

Anonymous said...

Looks like the sarcasm from 11:06 went right over the head of 4:37.

Anonymous said...

Vasectomies for politicians might be a better idea.

Anonymous said...

You have to start some day some where! Kudos Bill you will be long gone when they figure it out....

Anonymous said...

I believe this is true. I also believe well run orphanages would be better than our current system of foster homes. In some foster homes the children are loved but in many they are not. Of course this is also true in homes with their natural families.

We could do better than head start. It is glorified day care not really early childhood development. Regimentation and development are two different things.

Anonymous said...

Almost 20 years ago when I worked at the Mississippi Department of Education, African-American Superintendent of Education Dr. Henry Johnson disseminated a Monday Morning Memo each week. Each week he declared that all Mississippi students should go to college. As one result of this misguided advice, vocational-technical programs in our high schools were abandoned and the vo-tech equipment disappeared. During this time I participated in some statewide workshops and received an earful from district superintendents, facilities managers, and teachers about losing these job training programs. These folks knew that not all students are college material and that vo-tech programs can prepare youth for productive and lucrative blue collar careers.

Then Dr. Hank Bounds became Superintendent of Education and instituted GET ON THE BUS to help alleviate the increasing dropout rate.

Cycle after cycle of educational bureaucratic idiocy. People who are educated beyond their intelligence. Leaders whose only answers are to begin another new program and throw more money at the problems. And after all the new programs and increased funding, Johnny still can't read.

I refer you to an article on the Fox News website today by Lance Izumi regarding school choice. It will take unpopular, politically-incorrect words and actions to correct America's dire educational deficiencies. If anyone emerges with the intestinal fortitude to tell the truth and call for action instead of platitudes, we may not have enough safe spaces for the perpetually offended.

Anonymous said...

Those poor people just need to straighten their acts up.

Anonymous said...

"1)cognitive abilities get firmly set based on what happens to children in their first weeks and months after birth".

Most of you have missed the subject matter completely. I'll attempt to simplify that sentence for you.

The ability to think and reason and function is controlled by your brain. The brain is the electrical system in your house. Think of the neural pathways that connect the different parts of your brain to your body like electrical wires that connect different rooms in your house . Think of what happens to you in the first months of life as your home's electrical outlet box for your whole electrical system. If you don't connect some of the wires to your outlet box, some of lights and appliances in your house won't have electricity and will not ever turn on. And, your electricity has to be grounded. You might have a roof and doors and windows, but it's not a functioning house and if it's not grounded, it could still catch fire.

Those presenting this study know that your" houses" will still be different. Your genes are the building materials of your body. Some houses won't be as large, some will not have as the best building materials delivered and some parts may be defective. Some houses will not be well maintained. Think of those materials and maintenance as your DNA and the nutrition, stimulus , exercise from conception on and your environment as your grounding.

I've tried to simplify this so those commenting will see this research as one key part of the whole.

All these scientists are saying is that if a human does not get what they need in terms of nurturing in the first months of life to turn on the neural pathways, that human will never be able to learn and reason well.

The scientists know there are other factors. They simply are saying what happens in the first days, weeks and months after birth is a critical factor.

Research for decades has already pointed that out without the scientific confirmation.

There was research at Duke about the importance of an immediate connection between mothers and their infants. The mothers who did not hold and touch and talk to their infants immediately after birth, put those infants at risk for " failure to thrive". The Romanian babies in orphanages and their developmental problems after being left without more than food and diaper changes and being cleaned is well documented. It didn't matter how smart or beautiful or athletic their deceased parents had been or how good their adoptive parents were at providing and parenting. These children were developmentally damaged.

I hope this has helped those of you who never understood the key sentence because of the jargon or who scanned past it or who were unwilling to actually read the article because you don't like the messenger. For some of you, that light switch that would allow that sentence to be understood and evaluated on its merits just never got connected. You are the people who have to rely on others to tell you what to think .You are followers and go with the crowd and your views would be totally different if your " crowd" was different because your neural pathways never activated to allow you to think for yourself.

Plain ol' Catfish said...

@ December 17, 2017 at 5:11 PM

You hit it dead on! Best post on this thread!

Pittpanther said...

Mississippi doesn't believe in science. All you need to do is send your kids to church, that will solve all their issues.

Anonymous said...

How about we have all parents on the way home from the hospital with their new born infant stop by some government agency and drop off the kid? Then the kid will get the best of everything and the parents can go on their way with no worries.

Anonymous said...

At 2:15 I could have written your comment. It is awful. Not only do so many lack basic knowledge and skills, I have literally had young men, that were being trained by an older, more experienced employee come in the office and complain that they were not being "talked to with respect". Those young men no longer work for me.

Anonymous said...

10:44 am Do you imagine that only you and 2:15 have experienced incompetence or over sensitivity in the work place or elsewhere?

We have problem identification. Those in this article are trying to get to problem solving by understanding the causes of the problem.

You both contribute nothing to the discussion and seem to be suffering the same inability to think beyond your own experiences just like those you describe.

Anonymous said...

9:21, the problem solving is the easy part.
It is the fault of the parent. I would have said parents but there usually is only one. That is the problem.
Solving the problem is quit encouraging the mothers to have children and the fathers to abandon the kids.
Cut out all benefits to mothers that have over 1 child that does not have a father supporting it. Give them one for free. If they have more than that one stop all government benefits.
You will find that the umber of single parent families will drop immediately.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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