Sunday, January 6, 2019

Bill Crawford: Needed: Brain Power

“Area’s with brain power have a competitive advantage over other areas,” I researched and wrote in a column 16 years ago. “Brain power is the gold of the 21st Century in America.”


I recalled this column after reading a recent opinion column by Dr. Cathy Grace, the co-director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at Ole Miss. Her piece highlighted Mississippi’s continued, stubborn reluctance to invest in early childhood education.

“Currently Mississippi invests $6.5 million dollars in pre-kindergarten,” she noted, adding that the Education Commission of the States report for 2016-2017 showed neighboring states Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee invested $105 million, $64.4 million, and $86.6 million respectively. All experienced higher average annual economic growth over the past decade than Mississippi, with Mississippi one of the lowest three states in the nation.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Grace concluded.

So, back to my 2003 column on brain power (excerpts shown in quotations).

“The 2000 Census shows that just one out of eight adults in our region has a university degree of any kind. Conversely, we have and continue to produce citizens without the brain power needed to compete for top 21st Century jobs. School data shows too many of our 3rd graders cannot read at ‘proficient’ levels…too many of our 7th graders are not ‘proficient’ in basic math…and too many of our students drop out.”

(While we have made some progress in these areas, particularly in third grade reading and graduation rates, we still have a long, long way to go to be a state known for its collective brain power.)

“A prerequisite for brain power is brain development. Research shows that many of our students who cannot read at grade level in the 3rd grade, who cannot do basic math, and who drop out, suffer from inadequate brain development.

“The critical years for brain development are from birth to age four. Children in poverty, unhealthy, and/or abusive environments have a high risk of poor brain development.

“Too many of our most at-risk children have little access to early childhood programs and enter kindergarten unready and unable to learn.”

(Dr. Grace brought noted researcher Dr. Craig Ramey to Jackson last year. He cited 40 years of research confirming the above but also showing that “cognitive disabilities can be prevented in early childhood.”)

(Next Dr. Grace brought Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. James Heckman to Jackson. He made it clear to Gov. Phil Bryant and others attending his briefing that investing in comprehensive, high quality, early childhood education would yield a 13% return on investment.)

“Regions determined to compete in the new economy will make sure brain development programs are in place. As more children read with comprehension, the quality of school programs will increase, the quality of high school graduates will increase, and the quality and quantity of our college and university graduates will increase, providing us significant homegrown brain power.”

(On the other hand, regions that do little to spur homegrown brain power will find themselves at a competitive dis-advantage.)

Kudos to Dr. Grace for continuing her decades-long efforts to educate our leaders on facts and opportunities most other states, including our neighbors, have understood and acted upon for years…to the benefit of their economies.


Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how that government shutdown is working out for you guys.

Dead Freddie Mercury said...

Why does "area’s" have the apostrophe? It's not possessive and not a contraction. What's the apostrophe for? Perhaps to demonstrate a lack of "brain power" by its author.

That's not standard English usage and moves the author's opinions on education over to the dumb a$$ column.

Syntax/grammar/punctuation doesn't matter?

Confucius thought otherwise:

A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.

XIII Analects 3, verses 4-7

Me too.

Anonymous said...

There are hundreds of Pre-K Programs in our state. I attended one in the 1960’s

Anonymous said...

If there is one thing that hasn't worked it's Headstart.

Anonymous said...

Why does no one address the real problem ? The best Pre-K program is a loving family in a good home and no amount of wasted taxpayer dollars can duplicate that EVER. 40% ot the State's population has a 70%+ out of wedlock birth rate. Education will never flourish in such an environment no matter how much money is thrown at it. I know this won't get published but pisses me off every time someone blames us taxpayers for something we didn't create but are expected to want to waste our hard earned money fixing.

Dee Ray said...

I'm glad you included this phrase in your opening paragraph. It told me I needed to read no further, so I didn't....

"...Mississippi’s continued, stubborn reluctance to invest in early childhood education..."

Who, in his/her right mind actually believes Mississippi is reluctant to invest in early childhood education, especially an editorialist, writer, editor and man about town?

For multiple decades this state has been saturated with Head Start Centers (Friends of Children their proponents call themselves) as well as kindergarten and pre-K for quite awhile.

How can anybody with half a grain of sense make the claim you did?

You would have served us better had you bemoaned the fact that all that money is pissed away, rather than claiming it's not invested.

Anonymous said...

See previous post.

Anonymous said...

Mr Crawford

The “ white guilt” ploy doesn’t have traction on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I have to fly this week, I hope the TSA agents have gas money, I plan to slip them a few dollars for lunch if they show up.

Anonymous said...

1:33, let me get this straight...when mobs of liberal rioters yell "shut it down" and interfere with the government it is acceptable, but when conservatives hold liberals in the Congress accountable to their previous statements relating to border security (for example Obama (when he was a Senator), Hillary Clinton (when she was a Senator), and Chuck Schumer, and so on...) it isn't. Please explain.

Please be intellectually honest and admit that that this is all about the current President, and not about the issue of border security.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately in many areas Pre-K is more about baby sitting and free meals than education. More unfortunately, this is one of those areas.

Anonymous said...

You aren't getting an education if you are taught the world is flat.

You aren't getting an education if you are taught to memorize but don't comprehend the meaning of the words regurgitated or learn to think logically and empirically.

The existence of pre-schools and kindergartens doesn't mean they are effective or are based on accepted teaching methods.

If you continue to reward ignorance and punishment enlightenment, ignorance wins.

If your culture emphasizes beauty and athletics as the vehicles to success rather than education, then that's what children believe.

If you'd rather your children stay close to home and be just like you rather than recognize the world is large and complex and there are things you know nothing about that may interest them, you hold them back.

And, if you are afraid that reading all points of view is dangerous and don't have enough faith your beliefs to be confident that a well educated , well adjusted child will reach the same conclusion if given all the available information, then you just pass along your own insecurity to your child. And, you miss the opportunity for them to teach you new thing as you age.

Anonymous said...

You know what else is a great Pre-K program...A FAMILY! Strong families lead to strong morals and work ethic. When liberal policies began to reward irresponsible behavior and abandonment of the traditional family, we started to see kids seeking other pseudo-familial associations, like gangs. Did you know that one of the most prolific street gangs in the United States was initially funded by a government grant?

Thanks liberals for ruining our country!

Anonymous said...

@7:23 Sorry, but the WHOLE system pre-K thru 12th grade is about mostly about babysitting, free meals, AND to throw jobs to the low hanging fruit of the state - poor whites and blacks but making sure they'll vote for those promising the most stuff. Nothing's changed since the cotton-ginning days of old. Keep the poor in its place with just enough to exist and provide the upper class white supremacist leaders "data" to hide the masquerade, while scooping the cream from the top and sending it to the big house (based only on who they know, because they wouldn't make it outside of Mississippi). An OM degree will open doors for you within the state and depending who your mommy/daddy knows, outside of it, you're laughed at.

Dead Solid Perfect said...

◈◈◈ The best Pre-K program is a loving family in a good home and no amount of wasted taxpayer dollars can duplicate that EVER. ◈◈◈

24-Karat GOLD

Anonymous said...

Hasn't the federal Head Start program been running for over 50 years? Has that federal program born fruit?

I will tell you what my head start was. I had a 2 parent home that wasn't rich but did their best. I don't recall them taking any federal benefits despite qualifying for them.

Books were read to me when I was young. I was taken to the library. And I still enjoy reading to this day.

LaVar Burton has tried for years. Some people just won't ever get it. There is more to life than basketball sneakers and Marijuana cigars.

Anonymous said...

Have always thought that we should force the criminals in our jails to read Bill Crawford and Lynn Evans columns aloud once each day though I'm sure the bleeding hearts would consider that cruel and unusual punishment.

Anonymous said...

@8:48

Still deflecting the blame. Fatherless "homes" are the root of many (if not most) of the social and educational problems in this state but it's never the fault of the "parents" and no one wants to talk about it much less correct it.

Anonymous said...

8:37 let's remember 1st that Mexico is supposed to pay for the wall, tariffs are paid by the consumer not forgien countries. The house has passed bi partisan legestation previously passed by the Senate and because Coulter and Rush embrassed the president he now refuses to sign these bills.
It's my bet that the Republicans in the Senate will come to theirs senses shortly and cocurr with the house by passing the individual bills with veto proof majorities. You better watch out when that happens too, because then the president will really be embrassed.

Rod Knox said...

We have for several decades punished those poor parents who married while rewarding those who remain single and then blaming those recognizing and taking advantage of one of the greatest opportunities available to them.......... So who's really stupid here?

Anonymous said...

@ 10:45 AM

Nice talking points. Rush is on the radio right now replaying the soundbites of the Cable News talking heads repeating that he and Ann Coulter are to blame for the shutdown. Rush was on vacation and not shaming anyone on the air.





Rush Limbaugh leaves to go on vacation the week before Christmas and just returned today. He has guest hosts for the duration of his holiday leave and he gives his staff, including his producer Bo Snerdley, the same holiday break. The man takes his Christmas Vacation seriously. Regular listeners know this.

Anonymous said...

10:45 - 8:37 here...what in the hell are you even talking about? Was my post about a wall, or Mexicans, or any other blather you wrote? Focus - the topic is about the degradation of the nuclear family and it effect on society writ large.

Anonymous said...

And Hannity is not advising Trump to keep the government shutdown until the STU address. It's just too bad the millions of people are not being paid, 1000s of them are Mississippians. Wicker and Hyde Smith will not be moved but remember 22 Republicans are up for re-election in 2020. Trump is already toast as far 2020 is cocerned. His base continues to get smaller. Folks are catching up to his lies as like with the coal miners who now see more coal fired plant closings in 2 years that Obama had in his last 4. He lied to them saying that he was going to bring it back and they realize it now was all a lie. Talk to a soybean farmers here in Mississippi and ask him if he voted for tariffs. Also ask him about the agriculture department being shut down during one the most important times of the year.
By the end of the week 13 Senators will vote to open it up.

Anonymous said...

Women have a choice over whether or not their child is fatherless. Choose wisely, and you, your children, and your family will be happy and successful.....choose shortsightedly? You and your child will be on your own, because you the woman did not think things through carefully enough. Anyone can tell if/when a man is ready to be a father - or if he is not. It's not that complicated. Don't bring children into the world full-well knowing that their "father" has no intention of being one, or is completely ill-prepared to be one. Roe vs. Wade was rightfully passed for a reason. Unfortunately, the gub'mint wants to keep the female vote, so they've subsidized their selfish choice to be a "mother" when in fact they probably aren't ready themselves to be a parent.

Anonymous said...

Trump is going to address the nation on the crisis he is trying to create on the border tomorrow night. I am guessing he is going to tell 1.3 lies per minute. Buckle up & get ready for the fact checkers, Fox even hit SHS with fact checks and it was brutal.

Anonymous said...

1:38, have you ever been to the border (the real border)? It is a crisis, and has been for a long time. I lived in a couple of border communities while my wife was a Border Patrol Agent and I worked for another agency, it really is like a third-world country. She cleaned up body dumps by cartels, recovered children's bodies in the desert, arrested terrorists, fought for her life on several occasions, and spent our money on baby clothes and formula for children who were abandoned by human smugglers. Don't tell me about the crisis on the border - we lived it.

Anonymous said...

Tickled pink to pivot to THE WALL. There is no crisis or emergency at the southern border. THE WALL was a campaign ploy dreamed up by Trump to appeal to his base. Illegal immigration is down over prior years, as is the number of crimes committed by immigrants. Not a single terrorist has been stopped at the southern border. They enter through airports, where security is less effective due to the Trump shut down. Trump is peddling fear to justify a $5.7 billion expenditure that is not necessary and will not work.

Anonymous said...

What is the explanation for the fools injecting Trump, Rush Limbaugh and Mexico into this story ? Are they just examples of typical Dem dumb asses OR folks who didn't get their Pre-K degrees ?

Anonymous said...

We need to declare a national emergency against nostalgic idealism because that sh*t is causing some real problems.

Anonymous said...

Since Trump has no brain power, it makes sense to mention him in these posts.

Anonymous said...

Wow this was fun and I didn't start it. Trump has hurt more than he's helped here in the Sip with the tariffs alone. He isn't worried thou, these his people all the way overboard.

Anonymous said...

Tonight Trump should just say the wall has been built already, 90% of his supporters and 20% of the rest would believe him.

Anonymous said...

Snowflake alert at 3:50!!!

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Trollfest '09

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.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

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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