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Letter: Keep a full budget for early education

02.20.2012 | Petaluma360.com | Dan Fish

EDITOR: My compliments to Petaluma City Schools for moving
forward with plans to offer transitional kindergarten to children in
Petaluma. (“Prep school for kindergarten,” Feb. 6.) Research confirms
what I know from experience: high quality early education is one of the
best ways to keep kids in school, on track towards graduation and away
from crime.

Children who attend high-quality early care and education
programs are better prepared for kindergarten, develop stronger language
skills and are less likely to repeat a grade or drop out. They are far
less likely to become criminals: one study found children left out of a
quality preschool program were five times more likely to become chronic
offenders.

High-quality early care and education offers one of
the highest returns of any public investment, up to $16 for every dollar
invested, by reducing future expenditures for special education, public
assistance and the criminal justice system. Quality early education
saves lives and money.

The current budget proposal would have a
devastating impact on access to high-quality early education in the
short term and on public safety in the years ahead. I strongly urge
policymakers to protect this crucial funding.

Chief Dan Fish, Petaluma Police Department

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