I am so pleased to see that high-quality early learning has such a prominent place in the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee’s recommendations (“Lack of federal stimulus could slow Maine’s economic recovery, panel warns,” Nov. 24). Among the various strategies to grow Maine’s economy, this statewide, private sector group is recommending supporting early care and education, including investing $5.2 million toward early childhood education’s workforce development.

Having visited high-quality early learning programs like Magic Years here in Augusta, I can attest to the amazing job teachers do in these programs. And we need more early educators like them all across our state, so that every Maine child has the foundational cornerstone of high-quality early learning.

As Augusta’s police chief, I’d like to share what those of us in law enforcement have known for a long time: High-quality early learning can make our communities safer by helping to reduce later crime. Evidence shows us that young children who participate in high-quality early-learning programs are more likely to start kindergarten with the skills needed to be successful in school, stay in school, graduate from high school on time, go on to post-secondary education and work, and avoid involvement in crime later in life.

Making sure more Maine kids have a strong start through high-quality early childhood education is absolutely worth the investment. The resulting improvements will lead to safer communities with more successful kids and adults here in our great state.

I hope the governor and Legislature fully embrace and fund this worthy recommendation from the Economic Recovery Committee.

Jared Mills
Augusta chief of police

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