What sort of impact does your experience in kindergarten have on your adult life? The answer is truly surprising. In a study done by Dr. Raj Chetty and his associates at Harvard University, the value that kindergarten teachers add to the lives of their students was tested by following thousands of students in the Tennessee public school system through their education and into their adult careers. The researchers found that there was a strong correlation between high performing teachers and high levels of achievement for their students by the age of 27. Students who exhibited the greatest level of improvement in kindergarten were less likely to become pregnant before finishing their education and earned on average $1,000 more per year than their peers. Overall, the students of these ‘high-value’ teachers earned almost $250,000 more as a classroom. With this information, the researchers determined that good kindergarten teachers should earn $320,000 per year with how much value they add to the lives of their students.
The argument that this study is making is quite similar to the fundamental principles of the IMT and the KSM. Dr. Chetty and his team have proven the importance that the early conditions of a person’s life, like a child’s kindergarten experience, have in defining the later conditions. Based upon the natural law, there is one unique and singular initial set of conditions that lays the foundation for a continuing series of unique conditions all the way through the lifespan. In this way, something as seemingly unimportant as a kindergarten teacher can have a huge impact on the lives of his or her students, becoming more apparent as they become adults. Through understanding of the natural law, the work of Dr. Chetty and his associates seems to demonstrate their ‘observant’ nature. Additionally, the group establishes the term ‘high-value’ teachers to distinguish the successful, naturally talented teachers, who improve the lives of their students by giving them important life lessons at a young age. A similar term was used in class during a discussion of great teachers at the collegiate level, describing how these teachers add value to the lives of their students rather than merely serving as a source of coursework and grades. The course that we are all currently enrolled in is itself a testament to the idea that educators should be adding value to the lives of students beyond a degree, as there are other important factors, like the knowledge of oneself, which will lead students to success.