The Spectator

Why social breakdown is so difficult for government to deal with

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"All of the work that we have done has reinforced the importance of the first three years on a child’s cognitive and emotional development. The emotional brain is largely created in the first 18 months of life and its auditory map is formed even earlier, by 12 months. Furthermore, it has also been shown, alarmingly, that a child’s education developmental score at 22 months can accurately predict educational outcomes at the age of 26."

This stat in Iain Duncan Smith’s report illustrates the difficulty for public policy in dealing with the whole problem of social breakdown. You can have the best schools in the world but if social advantage is entrenched by the age of three, then they won’t make much difference--at least for this generation. The question of how the state can strengthen the family but without nationalizing family life is the $64,000 question of contemporary politics,