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)
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
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
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.