Duvall discussed a speech by Jeffrey M. Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va., during a recent Summit on Early Childhood Development in Virginia.
Lacker stressed the importance of early childhood education in helping Kentucky escape a long cycle of poverty.
"Lacker believes acquiring those skills must begin between birth and age 5 with early childhood development investments that pay off later with the accumulation of more skills in elementary and high school and beyond," said Duvall. "The early investment in pre-school education is thus compounded many times into adulthood, resulting in faster economic growth."
As local columnist Dr. Sandford Weiler pointed out, family interaction provides the best education for children through the age of 6.
Unfortunately, family interaction is not a positive experience for a growing percentage of our children. Too many parents appear to have little or no concern about the education of their children.
The best hope for the next generation to avoid repeating mistakes of generations past is to provide them with educational opportunities at the earliest age possible.
Even though poverty may not be as bad in our nation or state as it was in past years in some measurements, the laziness level seems to have skyrocketed.
Harlan County has suffered in many ways because numerous families remain dependent on the welfare state, with one generation after another showing little or no interest in taking responsibility for their future.
Children in families such as these learn very little from their parents except bad habits and need as many positive influences as possible to help them break the cycle of poverty.
Reducing the number of people in poverty is a worthy goal, but the children locked in those situations need all the help they can get now.
Improving early childhood education would take a bigger chunk of our tax dollars now, but it would save money later if the children of today can become productive adults.