Researcher Micheal Sherraden has an often quoted saying that: “assets are hope in concrete form.” Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a national conference on the emerging and growing field of children’s savings accounts where this concept came to life as policymakers and practitioners shared stories of how educational assets are becoming a transformative tool for children in communities all across the country.
States, cities and communities have seen the promising research on educational savings accounts for children and are moving forward in various ways with helping more children obtain accounts. Children’s savings accounts have been found to have potential to increase college-bound aspirations, increase higher educational completion rates, and reduce the growing problem of student debt.
Today’s kindergartners in San Francisco and Nevada are receiving an educational savings account as part of their entry into formal schooling. Babies born in Maine get an even larger savings account as a generous gift upon their birth. In Kansas, state administrators are piloting an innovative way of channeling money owed to the state in child support into educational savings accounts.
These innovations are happening because states around the country recognize that the human capital in today’s children is worth the investment. Babies and kindergartners are our future workers and taxpayers and making small investments in them now has the potential to pay big dividends in the future in the form of a thriving and educated workforce.
As more cities and states step up to help their children be more prepared for the future, we hope that Nebraska kids won’t be left behind by the geography of their birth. We hope that the state will start to consider how we might better prepare our children to be the productive future workers we need them to be by setting them on a path to educational success at an early age.