Thank you for your recent editorial supporting L.D. 1712, a legislative proposal to expand high-quality child care across Maine (“Our View: Maine should invest in early childhood programs“). I was one of the 64 Mainers who testified in favor of this bill, and I encourage all legislators to support L.D. 1712 when it comes before the House and Senate in the coming weeks.

As a retired Army major general, I am gravely concerned about the future trajectory of Maine’s children. According to the Department of Defense, 71% of young Americans across our nation, and 68% here in Maine, ages 17-24 are unable to serve in the United States armed forces. Why? Largely, because they lack educational attainment, they have a criminal background, or they are physically unfit.

High-quality early education and care programs are important to correct this course, not only for the young children, but also for the future of our country. These programs are part of a long-term strategy that will help young people in Maine succeed in school, so they can graduate and move forward to a productive career.

Several longitudinal studies have found that children who attend higher-quality child care were better prepared for school, do better socially and academically, and eat healthier than children in lower-quality child care.

Investing in high-quality early care and education helps young children develop the skills they need to finish high school and go on to a successful career in any field they choose, including those who will serve our country in uniform.

L.D. 1712 deserves overwhelming support.

Earl Adams

major general, U.S. Army (retired)

Pittston

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