Letters to the Editor

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EDUCATION: Invest early in our children

Letter by Bret A. Farrar, Lakewood on Jan. 16, 2013 at 9:33 am with No Comments »
January 16, 2013 10:06 am

I echo the excellent advice of retired Rear Admiral Alan Steinman (Viewpoint, 1-13) to the Legislature to invest more in early learning.

The fact that 75 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible to serve in the military is a statistic that every American should find deeply troubling. The good news is that, as Steinman writes, early education can solve a “host of problems” that lead to so many young people being ineligible to serve their country.

In addition to the positive outcomes of high-quality preschool cited by Steinman, the Perry Preschool study found that at age 27, kids who did not attend the high-quality preschool were five times more likely to become chronic lawbreakers than those who attended. And by age 40, they were twice as likely to have more than 10 arrests and 50 percent more likely to be arrested for violent felonies.

It is evidence such as this, coupled with our firsthand experience in law enforcement, that has convinced scores of police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys throughout the state that to truly prevent crime we must invest in proven programs that get kids off to a good start so they arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed, graduate and become productive, law-abiding citizens.

We urge the governor and Legislature to make sure that all school-funding solutions include significant investments in kids from birth to age 5. It’s not just good for our kids, it will lead to safer communities and a stronger nation.

(Farrar is the Lakewood police chief.)

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