Three Maine Leaders Support Voluntary Pre-K and Afterschool Programs
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation members offer testimony to state committee
On May 1, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation Maine members offered testimony to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. Their message was clear: funding to expand voluntary pre-K and afterschool programs will not only help Maine’s children succeed, but strengthen our public safety, national security, and economy.
During her testimony, ReadyNation member Megan Sanborn, Senior Government Relations Specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, noted that education is a critical investment in our people and our economy and should be treated as such, through a coordinated approach starting with prekindergarten. Before the hearing, she also spoke with Assistant House Republican Leader Rep. Trey Stewart, pictured above.
Maine business leaders believe that education is the single most important investment that can be made to ensure successful participation in the new, knowledge-based economy.
ReadyNation member Megan Sanborn, Senior Government Relations Specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce
Mission: Readiness member and former Maine Adjutant General Earl Adams agreed in his written testimony. He raised the startling fact that 68 percent of young Mainers, ages 17-24, are unable to serve in the United States armed forces. Major Adams also recently voiced his support for quality early learning programs in an opinion editorial in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, “Maine Compass: Early education helps Maine, and the military.”
I am concerned about our nation having the number of people and the quality of minds that we will need for the future.
Mission: Readiness member Major General (Retired) Earl L. Adams, U.S. Army and former Maine Adjutant General
Across our communities there are additional schools and community partnerships interested in adding voluntary public pre-K programs, and the $7 million proposed in Governor Mills’ budget is a first step towards achieving the goal of providing more of our youngest children high-quality early learning opportunities. The mixed delivery model, where public pre-K partners with local child care providers like YMCAs and/or Head Start to create collaborative programs is a great option for expanding access to these important early education venues.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Joel Merry, Sagadahoc County Sheriff, testified in support of pre-K but noted that quality programming in K-12 education is also important to help keep kids on the path to success. Every law enforcement member knows that the after-school hours – from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – are, sadly, “the prime time for juvenile crime.” Extended learning opportunities – be them before school, after school or during the summer – are also important pieces to this puzzle.
When youth have access to high-quality affordable afterschool programming, they benefit.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Joel Merry, Sagadahoc County Sheriff
Major General (Retired) Earl Adams reads The Rainbow Fish to a preschool class in Bangor, Maine.