If Sen. Lightford, who has garnered some significant attention since introducing a bill to lower the state’s compulsory school age from 7 to 5, does not know the work of Nobel-winning economist James Heckman, she might want to now. Heckman’s work, featured below in an infographic created by the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, offers more empirical validation of her mission to see to it that more Illinois children are exposed to the benefits of early childhood education. Of course, Heckman’s argument probably won’t go very far toward ameliorating the State’s pension crisis, which threatens K-12 funding. But its a step. If anything, it goes to show that the State’s obligations to pay into a system that it helped distort beyond rationality should not trump an obligation that’s even more precious — that of ensuring that every child in Illinois has at least a fighting chance.