Law Enforcement Leaders Visit Astoria Pre-K Students
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Oregon members read to students and discuss support of pre-k programs
On October 24, three Oregon law enforcement leaders led a special story time for more than sixty 3- and 4-year olds from 5 pre-k centers in the Astoria area. Clatsop County District Attorney Ron Brown, Warrenton Police Chief Matt Workman, and Astoria Police Chief Geoff Spalding also discussed a new research report while celebrating the recent state investment into prekindergarten through the Student Success Act, but stressing the need for more resources.
We need to keep our eye on the ball and continue to invest in pre-k, or spend millions on remedial education and public safety if the investment falls short.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Geoff Spalding, Astoria Police Chief
Before story time, these leaders released a new Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Oregon report titled Oregon Kids Soar with Early Education Investments, that reveals how quality preschool participation can boost math and reading capabilities and improve the social-emotional skills that prepare children for long-term academic success, high school graduation and crime-free lives. Some of research-proven outcomes of quality preschool programs discussed by the leaders and the new report are:
- Pre-k participation can cut by 81 percent the proportion of children at risk for problematic behaviors, while reducing the likelihood of later disciplinary infractions by half.
- Attending pre-K can also lead to higher achievement in math and reading, and participants may be 51 percent less apt to be held back in school.
- Preschool attendance can also reduce the likelihood by half that participants will be charged with a crime or serve time in jail or prison.
- Pre-k participation can achieve an average “profit” (economic benefits minus costs) to society of nearly $27,000 for every child served. Cost savings accrue from cutting crime and incarceration, reducing education costs and increasing future wages.
High quality pre-k gets results for kids and society.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Matt Workman, Warrenton Police Chief
The state recently approved a $75 million increase in early childhood education funding over the next two years, which means that 5,200 more eligible children statewide will be able to attend pre-k through Head Start, Oregon Pre-Kindergarten, and PreK Promise. Unfortunately, there are more than 20,000 eligible children who will still not have access to pre-k. The report estimates that expanding access to 20,000 more children would save about $540 million over the lives of the children attending. Oregon’s early childhood education system still faces three major challenges in reaching eligible students: funding, access, and quality. Recommendations to address these challenges are included in the new report, such as improving facilities and transportation and increasing teacher pay.
We’re celebrating the success of Oregon’s early education system, but also spotlighting the triple threat to thousands of kids, our criminal justice system, and economy if we do not continue to expand our investment.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Ron Brown, Clatsop County District Attorney
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