Kendall County State’s Attorney: Kindergarten preparedness will benefit Illinois
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Eric Weis delivers keynote at Early Childhood Summit
Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis delivered the keynote address at the Fox Valley United Way Early Childhood Summit on September 12, conveying law enforcement’s strong support for investments during children’s earliest years.
We were honored to have Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis as our keynote speaker. He spoke about the recent @FightCrimeIL report detailing the importance of investing in children. When we #liveunited we ensure all children are strong, prepared and ready for kindergarten. pic.twitter.com/JFMzCrhQMv— FoxValleyUnitedWay (@fvunitedway) September 13, 2019
The Fox Valley United Way has made school preparedness a signature issue through its SPARK (Strong, Prepared, and Ready for Kindergarten) initiative. Weis said that the issue applies to his county: According to the Erikson Institute’s “Risk and Reach” report, 80% of incoming kindergarteners in Kendall County were evaluated by their teachers as lacking school readiness.
“It’s 80 percent and that’s not good,” said Weis. “That should be a concern when we look at where we are sending our resources, and more importantly where we aren’t sending our resources.”
Weis said that resources directed to children, from their birth to age five, provide the greatest return on investment, with every dollar spent providing a “profit” of $13 to society. He pointed to voluntary home visiting, quality child care, and preschool as programs that are proven to prepare children for kindergarten and for life.
We have data that shows Kendall County would benefit by investing in the education of its youngest residents. The foundation for a productive adulthood starts there.
State’s Attorney Eric Weis
As a prosecutor, Weis cited evidence — included in a recent Fight Crime: Invest in Kids report — that home visiting and preschool can help significantly reduce future crime and violence.
State Representative Keith Wheeler, who attended the Summit, agreed that it was important to start children on a good path so they do not turn to crime later. “It’s hard when you can’t see the return immediately because people want to tackle something today, but the reality is we know we need to do a better job,” Wheeler told the Aurora Beacon News. “When we can make a difference and we don’t, things turn out poorly not just for the person who committed a crime or was a victim, but everyone in the community.“