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Group Urges Lawmakers to Invest in Early Education to 'Fight Crime'

Group Urges Lawmakers to Invest in Early Education to 'Fight Crime'

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois is a group comprised of law enforcement officials who are calling on state lawmakers to boost preschool funding by $50 million. The group argues that by investing in early education, the state is also investing in crime prevention.

"One Michigan study found that students who did not attend preschool were five times more likely to be arrested for drug felonies and two times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes by the age of 27 than those students who did attend preschool, according to the group," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Police Chief John Konopek wants more investment in early education because he believes any step educators take in guiding young students is a step taken towards positive results in the future. "'A lot of what we see is the aftermath of when these young kids grow into adults, and in many instances, these teenagers or adults really didn't have a lot of guidance when they were young,'" he said, according to the Tribune.

Right now, the proposed state budget includes a $25 million increase for early childhood education, but the group is asking for more to make up for the trend of funding cuts over the years.

Early childhood education programs "have lost about $80 million in funding since 2009, said Tim Carpenter, state director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois. He noted those cuts have led to 20,000 fewer children attending preschool programs across the state -- 600 in Will and Kendall counties alone," the article said.

By doubling the currently proposed increase, the group thinks it would "better help restore" previous funding cuts and "help the state access federal grant dollars, Carpenter said."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

04/22/2015

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