A Feb. 21 letter to the editor by Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil talks about two long-term studies showing how early childhood education affects at-risk kids. The children receiving high quality preschool educations were much more successful in school, more likely to graduate from high school, attend college and avoid crime than the kids not receiving preschool training. This has been known for many years and yet the Legislature continues to spend money on law enforcement, the courts and prisons at the expense of education.
Big portions of our prison population are people that struggled in school and are school dropouts. These studies show that early childhood education results in a more successful person who is much less likely to be arrested. Rehabilitating inmates is expensive, not very successful and costs far more than educating at-risk preschoolers. I join Chief Todd Stancil in supporting expanded early learning for at-risk kids to reduce crime but also to make our citizens and our communities better. These studies and others prove investments in at-risk preschool kids lowers crime rates so why are we NOT investing more for at-risk children? An inmate residing in our state prisons costs over $30,000 per year to support and produces nothing. If early childhood education can reduce prison populations and result in more productive citizens, that’s where I want my tax money invested.