Government often focuses more on treatment than prevention, which leads to solutions that are more costly to taxpayers and less effective. In education, this has led us to spend more on special education, dropouts, and jail--giving us less to spend on tools that help at-risk kids learn how to contribute.
Mayor McAdams is using Pay for Success Bonds to fund high-quality preschool for at-risk kids. Private investors buy these bonds from the government and get paid back if the preschool programs succeed in saving taxpayers money from fewer at-risk kids using more expensive programs like special ed. This pay for success model gives government the tools to fund an ounce of evidence-based prevention on the front end out of cost savings on the back end--and it helps elected leaders focus on what works best to achieve outcomes.