I completely agree with your recent editorial supporting Maine’s efforts to expand access to pre-K programs so all children in our state can have a strong start in life (“Our View: Maine taking right route on early education,” Sept. 6). Pre-K is critical in helping kids develop key skills to build a solid foundation. That way, they can keep up with their peers, do well in school, and be prepared for productive lives as adults.

It is well known that Maine’s workforce depends on kids getting a strong start. Many may not realize that the U.S. military also depends on this.

Recruiting for the military is becoming more challenging. More than two-thirds of youth in Maine and across the country are not fit to serve in the armed forces for reasons including poor academic achievement, obesity, criminal behavior and drug use.

Reaching kids early in life to help develop not just their learning skills, but also social-emotional skills, helps them achieve better in school, stay out of trouble, and even stay fit. For some kids, high-quality early learning programs can change the trajectory of their lives.

As your editorial noted, Maine is on the right path in expanding access to pre-K. Much progress has been made. Policymakers should stay the course and keep moving toward the goal of access in every Maine school district.

Continued investments in early learning programs like high-quality pre-K will make sure more young people are prepared for a bright future. This is crucial for our country’s military readiness, national security and the safety of our citizens.

Earl Adams

major general, U. S. Army (retired)