Blog | March 20, 2019

Maine Members Testify in Support of Pre-K Expansion Funding

A sheriff, retired general, and state chamber of commerce president offer unique perspectives

On March 11, Maine members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation testified before the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs and the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs in support of pre-K expansion in the state budget. Long-standing research is clear that the first five years of life are a critical time of brain development. Our members in Maine provide unique perspectives on how quality early learning can improve our public safety, national security, and economy.

High-quality pre-K is a long-term strategy that will help young people in Maine succeed.

Mission: Readiness member Major General Earl Adams, U.S. Army (retired)

Retired Major General Earl Adams testifies in support of prek funding

68 percent of young adults in Maine, ages 17-24 are unable to serve in the United States armed forces. Our Armed Forces’ most important element is its people and the members of Mission: Readiness are concerned about our nation having the number of people and the quality of minds that we will need for the future. By providing young children with pre-k opportunities, we can help them become successful students who are more likely to finish school and pursue the career path of their choice.

Today I’m here to tell you that high-quality early learning programs are also a great crime reduction strategy.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Sheriff Kevin Joyce, Cumberland County

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce testifies in support of prek funding

There is no substitute for tough law enforcement. But once a crime has been committed, lives have already been shattered. This is why the members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids support proven programs that can help prevent crime in the first place. A study of the Chicago Child Parent Centers showed that kids who did not receive quality early learning programs were 70 percent more likely to have been arrested for a violent crime by age 18 than their peers who participated in the school readiness program.

Public pre-K is a tool to build and strengthen Maine’s future workforce.

ReadyNation member Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce

Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors speaks at a ReadyNation event at Thomas College

In recent years, Maine has made steady progress increasing voluntary pre-K programming in various regions across our state, now serving about 47 percent of 4-year-olds. There is still room to grow to reach the remaining eligible young children across the state. This is why members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation are calling on the Maine legislature to support expanded funding for pre-K as proposed by Governor Mills in the budget.


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