Sunbury Daily Item: LTE: Push for Pre-K Funding

I was glad to see Mary Ellen Jansen’s recent “My Turn” column touting the economic benefits of investing in early childhood education. I’d like to add the law enforcement perspective. District attorneys across Pennsylvania have long supported increasing access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing future crime.

The research is clear: front-end education investments in high-quality pre-K will improve graduation rates and decrease criminal behaviors. High school dropouts are 3 1/2 times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested, and more than 8 times as likely to be incarcerated. Indeed, half of Pennsylvania’s state prison inmates failed to obtain a high school diploma. This is why prosecutors from throughout Pennsylvania, from both political parties, publicly support these investments in order to prepare kids for more successful and lawabiding lives. In Snyder County 86 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds lack access to high-quality pre-K each year. In Northumberland County 80 percent lack this access, and in Union County it’s 78 percent. I commend both the General Assembly and the governor for prioritizing pre-K in their respective budgets. I hope that the final negotiated budget will include more funding to expand access to high-quality pre-K not only for its economic benefits, but as part of a proven crime prevention strategy.

Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch is a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and the Early Learning Investment Committee of the Susquehanna River Valley.

Read the Letter to the Editor here.