The worse news is that it's also harder to climb that ladder here than in the rest of the developed world. Italy, France, the U.K.: They all fare better according to the Pew Economic Mobility Project.
But the good news — yes, there is some good news — is about the impact of "early childhood education." That same Pew report found in France and Denmark that having two or three years of preschool instead of just one increased participants’ monthly wages by 3.2 percent and 3.6 percent respectively.
A book with more details on the Pew study will be out from the Russell Sage Foundation this spring. But for now, you can check out a story we did back in 2010 from Boulder County, Colorado. There, David found a program that turns babysitters into informal preschool educators — a program alternative economic indicators helped make happen.