It turned out, by the age of 3, children born into low-income families heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers.

Research since then has revealed that the “word gap” factors into a compounding achievement gap between the poor and the better-off in school and life. The “word gap” remains as wide today, and from Stanford University found an intellectual processing gap appearing as early as 18 months.

That study led to some increased , but some say that’s not early enough.

“I recognized that we need to really start in the cradle,” says Angel Taveras, mayor of Providence, R.I.