Greg Duncan

Greg J. Duncan is the Edwina S. Tarry Professor, School of Education and Social Policy and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research. Further information is available at

Recent Articles

High-Quality Preschool as Antipoverty

New evidence on brain development during a child's early years makes it clear that early childhood should be a focus of increased policy attention. We now know that the basic architecture of the brain is constructed through an ongoing process that might be compared to the construction of a home: Beginning before birth, the brain's foundation is laid, with the neurological equivalent of the framing of rooms and the installation of the electrical and plumbing systems occurring in a predictable sequence that continues through early adulthood. The brain's architecture is built over a succession of "sensitive periods," each of which involves the formation of specific circuits associated with particular abilities. Once a circuit is operational, it provides a foundation for the construction of later-developing circuits. A strong foundation in a child's early years helps promote lifelong achievement and positive behavior, while a weak foundation increases the chances of later problems. Nobel-...