Is universal preschool the key to solving inequality?

EDUCATION/EQUITY | There are no philanthropic silver bullets. But what if we could make significant headway on many of the problems that we’re trying fix? As The Atlantic points out, a growing body of research finds that related issues like poverty, crime, unemployment, and general inequality can all be addressed with one intervention – universal preschool (Atlantic, 6/17):

Get to children as young as possible, and you can change not only their life trajectories, but also the income inequality, social mobility (and tax revenues) of the places where they live. This doesn’t mean spending more per student in struggling high schools, or giving rehabbed computers to second-graders. It means reaching low-income children by the time they’re 3, or even younger. It means putting them in high-quality preschool.

Opinion: D.C. Council and School Reform: First, Do No Harm by Patricia McGuire (HuffPo, 6/17)

FOOD | Another area where many issues come together is our local food system. Lindsay Smith, WRAG’s consultant for the Washington Regional Convergence Partnership, writes about this intersection and suggests a few events this week for learning more. (Daily, 6/17)

NONPROFITS | The heads of three major nonprofit information organizations – Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance – have jointly authored a letter that rejects the “overhead ratio” as a “valid indicator of nonprofit performance.” Read the full letter here.

Related: It’s worth noting that this is an extension of Dan Pallotta’s message – that nonprofits should offer competitive and lucrative salaries to attract the best employees.

WORKFORCE | Opinion: The D.C. Council is considering legislation that would require big box retailers (“billion dollar” companies) to pay employees 50 percent more than minimum wage. Jim Dinegar, head of the Greater Washington Board of Trade and a member of the 8 Neighbors group, says that this is a terrible idea (WaPo, 6/17):

Basic economics shows that such a large increase in entry-level wages will lead to a surplus of job seekers, but a shortage of actual jobs. This may result in good opportunities for those lucky few who get the positions, but those who do not will suffer due to the overall decrease in job supply.

DEMOGRAPHICS | Last week, the Census Bureau released new data showing that there are now more deaths than births among non-Hispanic whites. Pew Research looks into the reasons for this trend. (PRC, 6/14)

HEALTH | Five things you should know about the D.C. health exchange (WBJ, 6/14 – subscription required)

WHAT IF…| It’s hard to imagine our region’s landscape without the Lincoln Memorial in it. But what if the memorial looked completely different? Ghosts of DC searched though the National Archives and found a series of alternate proposals for the memorial – a few of which would pretty much confirm every conspiracy theory about the Masons. (GODC, 6/17)


So, we already know that Vladimir Putin is number one. Why else would the people of Russia keep electing him? Seriously, why else? In addition to being an action man and golden-voiced lounge singer, he’s apparently an international jewel thief.

Also, you all know that I love space. Here is the first ever look at Mercury’s entire surface (from a safe distance, of course).