Centre Daily Times: LTE: Pre-K Funding Essential

Sheriffs and other law enforcement leaders across Pennsylvania have long-provided good reason for increasing access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-kindergarten.

Research is clear that front-end education investments improve graduation rates and help prepare at-risk kids for more successful lives.

High school dropouts are 3 1/2 times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested, and more than eight times as likely to be incarcerated. Department of Justice statistics show that 68 percent of state prison inmates do not hold a high school diploma. Participating in quality pre-kindergarten increases high school graduation rates by as much as 44 percent.

Quality pre-kindergarten should be part of a comprehensive approach to our crime problem. This is why both Republican and Democrat sheriffs and prosecutors throughout our commonwealth support increased access to pre-K as a crime-prevention strategy.

I commend both the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf for prioritizing pre-K in their respective draft budgets and hope that a final negotiated budget will include a substantial step towards serving more of the roughly 1,500 3- and 4-year-olds in Centre County that lack access to high-quality pre-K each year. For law enforcement leaders, this would be filling a crime-prevention gap.



The writer is sheriff of Centre County.

Read the Letter to the Editor here.