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Pre-School Solves Crime, Saves Money: Report

Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010  |  Updated 6:30 PM PDT
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Pre-School Solves Crime, Saves Money: Report

Tatshop@aol.com

My 4 1/2 year old Grandaughter, Morgan Bowen, going to Pre K school in Wolfe City for the first time. Also her Mom and Dad, Chris and Jennifer, walking her into the school.

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As Congress considers the reauthorization of the Elementary and  Secondary Education Act, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, local  leaders are encouraging a shift from the traditional kindergarten through  12th grade education to a preschool through 12th grade track.

      A report released today found that high-quality preschool programs  for all children would help reduce crime and save millions of dollars for Bay  Area school districts.
     
The report, released by a network of law enforcement officials and  survivors of violence called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, found children who  attend preschool are less likely to need special education services later and  are less likely to commit crimes, state and local leaders said at a news  conference at the Cambridge Child Development Center in Concord.
     
According to the report, research has shown that high-quality  preschool could result in long-term cost savings of as much as $16 for every  $1 spent.
     
In the short term, providing high-quality preschool for all  children in California could reduce the state's public education costs by as  much as 10 percent by reducing the number of children who require special  education services. Children who go to preschool are also less likely to need  to repeat grades and are more likely to graduate from high school.
     
According to the report, more than $1.5 billion is spent each year  on special education services in the Bay Area.
     
The report found that if state and federal governments invested  $117 million to provide preschool programs for all Bay Area children, the  cost of special education services could be reduced by about $150 million.
     
It further estimates that providing preschool for all children  statewide could result in overall savings of $300 million annually in  kindergarten through 12th grade education.
     
Studies have also found that children who do not attend preschool  are more likely to commit violent crimes than peers with similar  socio-economics backgrounds who did attend preschool.
     
A study of a federally funded early intervention program in  Chicago called the Child-Parent Centers, which provide educational services  to economically disadvantaged children and their parents, compared children  in the program to similar children who did not attend the program.
     
The study found that children who were not in the program were 70  percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18 than  children who did attend the program.
     
Children not participating in the program were also 24 percent  more likely to be incarcerated as young adults than children who had attended  the program.
     
A separate study released in 2005 found that children who did not  attend preschool were five times more likely become chronic offenders by age  27 than similar peers who did go to preschool.
     
The children who went to preschool were also 43 percent less  likely to need special education services later, according to the study,  which compared children attending the Perry Preschool Program in Ypsilanti,  Mich., to similar peers who did not attend the program.
     
During the news conference today, Concord police Chief and Contra  Costa County Sheriff-Elect David Livingston joined Pleasant Hill police Chief  Pete Dunbar, Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, and Barrie Becker, state director of  Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, to call on state and federal  lawmakers to invest in high-quality preschool for all children.
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