The Maine Legislature’s Education Committee’s recent unanimous vote supporting access to voluntary pre-kindergarten programs in all Maine communities is outstanding news and a big step toward preventing future crime in our state.

Kids who participate in high-quality early learning programs like pre-K, especially kids who are at-risk and those who do not have their developmental needs met at home, are more likely to do well in school, graduate high school and continue their education beyond high school. They are more likely to have successful, productive futures that do not include crime.

High-quality early learning settings help kids at an age when rapid brain development is happening, helping children develop many of the skills they need to succeed, such as social, emotional and cognitive skills. These skills build a strong foundation for a positive path in life.

Research shows that kids who participate in pre-K programs are less likely to engage in criminal activity. A long-term Chicago study found that kids who did not participate in early education programs were 70 percent more likely to be arrested by age 18. Research also shows that kids who receive early education are 42% more likely to be employed long-term when they are adults.

The evidence is clear: early learning programs help reduce future crime. I encourage the full Maine Legislature to support L.D. 1043. Investing in access to pre-K for all Maine kids is the right thing to do for our youth and a wise investment in Maine’s future public safety.

 

Jared Mills

chief of police

Augusta

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