Factsheet | March 6, 2017

Early Learning in Indiana: A National Security Imperative

How high-quality pre-K can help more young adults qualify for military service

As military leaders look ahead to the coming years, they are increasingly concerned that there are not enough qualified candidates to defend our nation. This concern stems from problems including education, obesity, crime and drug abuse that render many young adults ineligible for military service. In Indiana, 72 percent of today’s young adults cannot join the military if they desired.

While high-quality pre-K has gained traction, 60% of 3- and 4-year-olds in Indiana still do not attend.

High-quality pre-K can help children succeed

Mounting research shows that the early years of life are incredibly important for later learning, behaviors and health. Studies show that high-quality pre-K helps children:

  • Do well in school: High-quality pre-K can improve children’s early math and literacy skills, putting them three to nine months ahead in elementary school compared to their peers who did not attend pre-K. Some high-quality programs even boost high school graduation rates by 30 to 50 percent.
  • Achieve a healthy weight: Pre-K programs that emphasize healthy eating, physical activity and parent engagement can help lower child obesity rates by five to 24 percent.
  • Stay on the right side of the law: Studies of two high-quality pre-K programs found that participating children were less likely to have criminal records as adults.

Policymakers should continue the movement toward high-quality pre-K Over the past few years, high-quality pre-K has gained traction across the U.S. In the 2015-16 state budget year, 32 states—22 with Republican governors and 10 with Democratic governors—increased funding for pre-K.

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