I applaud Augusta-area school districts that are expanding enrollment in pre-kindergarten programs (“Pre-K programs grow, even as school districts make difficult cuts,” May 20). As a former teacher, retired Army general and member of Mission: Readiness, I know that high-quality pre-K is vitally important not only for the young children who attend, but also for the future security of our country.

Recently, I testified before the state Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs that according to the Department of Defense, 75 percent of young Americans are unable to serve in the military primarily because they lack the necessary education, are physically unfit or have a criminal record. I told the committee that the research is clear that high-quality pre-kindergarten helps young children develop the skills they need to succeed in school and go on to a successful career.

For example, participants in Chicago’s Child-Parent Centers were 29 percent more likely to graduate from high school, while those who did not attend were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.

Recent results from studies of state preschool programs such as New Jersey show that high-quality early education programs can be implemented on a large scale by states and that these programs have sustained benefits for children.

The state-federal pre-K partnership recently proposed by the administration would give states like Maine the opportunity to strengthen and expand their own high-quality pre-K programs.

Providing more children with quality early learning opportunities will help ensure that our education crisis does not become a national security crisis.

Earl Adams

Major General, U.S. Army (retired)

Pittston

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.