Around 90% of a child's brain is already developed by the time they are five years old.
And that means the learning that takes place before a kid even reaches kindergarten can have a lifelong impact.
Decades of research shows that high-quality preschool can increase graduation rates and future earnings.
But while many agree that preschool is a critical investment, early childhood educators earn far less than other teachers.
In some states, you can make more working at a fast food restaurant.
Karen Paciorek teaches early childhood education at Eastern Michigan University. She joined us today to talk about why the high cost of early childhood education doesn't translate to a reasonable rate of pay for educators.
This segment was produced in collaboration with Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project. Support for State of Opportunity comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a partner with communities where children come first.
Karen Paciorek is a professor of early childhood education at Eastern Michigan University. She tweets @KarenPaciorek.