Letter: Stand by Pay for Success

November 14, 2015
Author: Robert Dugger

As the co-founder of ReadyNation and a stalwart supporter of quality early learning, I agree with the educators and researchers who are saluting the success of the Pay for Success approach that's making quality preschool available to Salt Lake County youngsters. ("Organizers of Utah's privately funded preschool program stand behind model after NYT criticism," Tribune, Nov. 7).

I also see a silver lining in the debate about the program and its evaluation: While educators and evaluators work to improve outcomes for participating kids, they will continue to do so largely at the expense of the private sector. In fact, I doubt we would see this type of rigorous evaluation and examination of the results if this were simply a traditional state or federal program.

In the meantime, Utahns should recognize that although funders did receive a return based on the 109 children who did not need special education, that funding made preschool available for 595 children who otherwise probably would not have been able to attend. Ultimately, over 2,600 Utah children should benefit from this project.

This bottom line impact should be celebrated as other communities consider Pay for Success strategies that foster social innovation and tangible results for children, families and society as well.

Robert Dugger 

Managing Partner Hanover Provident Capital, LLC Alexandria, Va.