An article in last week's Northwest Herald decried State cuts in pre-school funds to districts. Some have cut out their pre-school programs entirely; others, including District 200, have modified them. At a D-200 school board meeting recently, I addressed the Board and suggested that the hardest-hit group will be the kids whose parents cannot afford the tuition for the modified pre-school program.
Last Monday-Tuesday I attended a two-day training program sponsored by the Parent & Educator Partnership. One of the biggest insights I had came from the question about the indicator of future incarceration. One of the major predictors of future incarceration? The reading scores of third-grade students!
The NWH article moves it down even younger. According the non-profit organization, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, "at-risk children who don't attend preschool have a greater chance of becoming criminals when they grow up." A study by the Perry Preschool program in Michigan found that "children left out of the (pre-school) program were 85 percent more likely to be sentenced to jail or prison by age 40."
A Chicago study of more than 100,000 3- and 4-year-olds over the past 42 years calculated that 24% of children who did not attend pre-school were more likely to end up in jail or prison.
So, it looks like a no-brainer now. You either pay now or pay later. Pay for pre-school or pay for prisons. The problem is, nobody wants to pay now. For anything. What this means is that we will pay later! Or our kids (or grandkids) will - one way or the other.