As a law enforcement leader, it is my opinion that early education is one of the most important investments we can make.
Through the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray and a bipartisan delegation in the House, we have a chance to see quality preschool become accessible to all of our nation’s children.
As Murray wrote in her Viewpoint (TNT, 11-14), the “gap between children who start school ready to succeed and those who don’t has serious implications for our country’s future.” I agree. Helping all kids get the right start in life will increase their chance of success while making our communities safer.
The bill has research on its side. Along with the brain development impacts Murray discusses, a review of more than 20 rigorous studies of preschool programs by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that these programs can provide an average return to society of $15,000 for every child served, mostly through lower criminal justice costs.
That’s definitely a better way to spend money than the cost of $33,000 per inmate per year in Washington’s prison system.
For law enforcement leaders, the decision is clear. Investing now saves much more money later. We hope the rest of the Washington delegation will stand with Murray and make this act a reality.
(Ramsdell is the Tacoma chief of police.)