I read a recent editorial in this paper with great interest (Our View, Nov. 15). The subject was Maine’s growing access to pre-K programs; the editorial concluded that increased participation in them was “a good start.” I wanted to weigh in with my strong support for early childhood education programs based on my background in law enforcement.

The bottom line is this: Kids who participate in quality early learning programs are less likely to commit crimes when they are older. Why? Because they are more likely to gain key developmental skills early, start kindergarten ready to learn, do well as they progress through elementary, middle and high school, graduate from high school, continue their education after high school and see that life has so much more to offer them than crime.

Research has shown this to be true. One example is a Michigan study that looked at the short- and long-term effects of one preschool education program for at-risk, economically disadvantaged children. Kids who did not participate in the program were significantly more likely to be chronic criminal offenders by their mid-20s. Another study of Chicago’s Child-Parent Centers found that kids who did not participate in preschool programs were 70 percent more likely to have been arrested for a violent crime by age 18.

I encourage Maine to continue investing in quality early learning pre-K programs for many reasons. Among them, the programs reduce crime and result in more productive people and safer Maine communities. Supporting all Maine kids early on also is the right thing to do.

Jack Peck

chief of police


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