You can say a lot of things about gambling but the biggest roll of the dice we take is one in which we don't get a conscious vote, i.e. the family into which we are born. Here's an interesting article from The Economist about just that. It features some affluent parents in the DC suburbs and some not so affluent parents in southern West Virginia. It also highlights a home visiting program that is doing great stuff here.
A lot of research shows that the first 33 months of life are crucial and this is a sweet spot for intervention to promote the good and ward off the bad.
Home visiting, aka in home early childhood education, is a major issue in West Virginia. For the last year ago, we've fought and mostly won struggles to preserve funding for these programs. The next big fight will be to push for universal eligibility for voluntary participation in these programs.
(I also learned a new term--for me anyway--from the article: helicopter parents. These are those who hover so much over their kids that the kids hardly have a chance to develop on their own.)
More on the birth lottery here.