Senator Chris Lauzen, a conservative state senator from the far western suburbs, puts out some thoughtful essays on a regular basis. His latest one here reinforces an idea with a great return on investment: getting parents to read to their children for 20 minutes every night at bedtime.
If we can figure out how to reinforce that culture of reading to children every night, especially for parents who weren't educated enough to understand how important reading is, we'll end up with a much smarter, more educated student population with all the good things that flow from that.
What can government do? Public service announcements? Mailings to every household? If we can change some social norms on this cheaply, it would be a great thing.