Maine Sheriff, Retired General, and CEO Tout Impacts of Early Learning
Panel of members speaks to Maine’s Legislative Children’s Caucus
Earlier this month, on January 15th, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation each had a member join a panel to address Maine’s bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Children’s Caucus. The panel presented the research and each member’s perspective on the importance of high-quality early learning and how it can reduce later crime, help make our nation more secure, and improve our future workforce and Maine economy.
Panel members: Major General Earl Adams, U.S. Army (retired); Mr. Jim Clair, CEO of The Clair Group; and Sheriff Kevin Joyce, Cumberland County.
The event was convened by Sen. Rebecca Millett and Rep. Sawin Millett, the Children’s Caucus Co-Chairs. This was the second meeting of the caucus, which aims to improve the effectiveness and reach of policy designed to positively impact children from birth to age 8, their families, and the communities in which they live in order to give every Maine child the right start in life, a safe and healthy environment, to nurture their early learning, and to enhance their well-being.
Prior to this event, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members, Cumberland County Sheriff and President of the Maine Sheriffs Association, Kevin Joyce, and Searsport Chief of Police and President of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, Richard LaHaye authored an opinion piece on the topic of quality early learning in the Portland Press Herald.
High-quality early education programs are proven ways to improve the public safety of our communities.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Sheriff Kevin Joyce, Cumberland County
ReadyNation member, Jim Clair, CEO of The Clair Group and Co-Chair of the Maine Early Learning Investment Group also authored an opinion piece in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel urging Maine lawmakers to capitalize on the opportunity of quality early learning. At the Children’s Caucus event, Mr. Clair explained that, “Quality early care and education programs help lay the groundwork for creating Maine’s future workforce. Considering Maine’s workforce challenges, investing in these programs is more important now than ever before.”
Providing more children with quality early learning opportunities will help ensure that our education crisis does not become a national security crisis.
Mission: Readiness member Retired Major General Earl Adams
Finally, Major General Earl Adams, U.S. Army (retired), former Maine Adjutant General and Commissioner of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management highlighted the national security implications of lacking early learning opportunities. Currently, 68 percent of all young people in Maine are unable to serve their country in uniform, because they do not have a high school diploma, are physically unfit or already have a serious criminal record. At-risk Maine children who were able to participate in a state funding pre-k program, have shown improved test scores in both reading and math in later grades, which leads to higher graduation rates.