Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Officials: Pre-K prevents crime

March 5, 2008


Law enforcement officials support pre-K

Early childhood education is usually backed by teachers, but today a different group of leaders is endorsing pre-kindergarten learning. 6News reporter Lindsey Slater has more. Enlarge video

— Putting more children in prekindergarten classrooms now will prevent having to build more prisons later, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

The group of police chiefs and prosecutors supports a $23 million increase in funding over two years for early childhood education programs proposed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

"We don't want America's most vulnerable kids becoming America's most wanted adults," said Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson.

Branson appeared with Shawnee County District Attorney Robert Hecht and police chiefs of Lenexa and Topeka.

The group appeared on behalf of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a nonprofit group that advocates for increased early childhood programs.

Jeff Kirsch, vice president of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, said studies show that low-income children who receive high-quality early childhood education do better in school, are less likely to commit crimes and have a higher standard of living as adults.

"Investments in the earlier years of a child's life is one of the best investments that we could make," said Kirsch as he released a report detailing Kansas early childhood spending and statistics.

Hecht says he sees the results of early childhood neglect every day in the criminal justice system, noting that he is now prosecuting the grandchildren of people he prosecuted in the 1960s.

Because of a lack of funding, only 15 percent of Kansas' eligible children are enrolled in the at-risk 4-year-old preschool program.

One organization, Americans for Prosperity, Kansas chapter, issued a report that opposed an appropriation for a prekindergarten program.

The group said the prekindergarten program was a hidden subsidy for public education and had questionable results. Americans for Prosperity recommended that the money should instead be given as an income tax credit for stay-at-home moms.

Law officials criticized that Americans for Prosperity position as unrealistic.


ECEforAll 10 years, 2 months ago

Unbelievable huh? Read up on the subject, research has shown 'at risk' children who have high quality early education opportunities are statistically more likely to perform better academically, less likely to drop out of school, less likely to become teenage parents, and less likely to commit violent crimes. Early education won't solve every problem, but why not provide children with high quality education during the most crucial years of brain development?

volunteer 10 years, 2 months ago

Studies show there is pie in the sky when you die and that spending more is actually spending less. It is an investment.

Didn't we begin kindergarten by offering it half a day, then all-day, and now a bill has passed to require all day kindergarten?

I'd prefer nipping in the bud this 4-year-olds-in-public-classroom business.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 2 months ago

Toddler crimes are typically underreported to the FBI.

Becca 10 years, 2 months ago

How ridiculous. Was there an official study done, or was it just suppositions by the district attorney? I can tell you right now, I doesn't matter if a child went to prekindergarten classes or not, it's how the parents raise them that determines whether or not they turn into criminals. My older sister went to pre-K classes, and she had her first child at the age of 16. I did not. I'm 24, have no children, and am in school working on my master's in psychology. And we had the same exact upbringing: crappy. I think this is yet another insidious ploy by the government to suck more money out of taxpayers, nothing more.

georgeofwesternkansas 10 years, 2 months ago

Studies also show that parents who give a crap about your homework, grades, and behavior in school, turn out children that become productive members of society.

And it does not cost the taxpayers a penny.

ECEforAll 10 years, 2 months ago

Have you ever worked in the education system or taught children who were behind their classmates, emotionally, socially, or academically from the day they started kindergarten?
Pre-K does not suggest that every child needs to attend, rather that those who are at risk have it available to them. If at risk children lack the support and materials to learn and discover at home during their early years of life, then Pre-k can provide them with the learning opportunities that will prevent them from always being one step behind their peers. Are you familiar with what Pre-K classrooms and curriculums are like? Pre-k is not kindergarten; it does not consist of set schedules and teacher lead curriculums. Rather, it is a play-based environment that exposes children to materials ranging from art to science that allow them to learn through free play/ free choice while a teacher facilitates communication and discovery.

georgeofwesternkansas 10 years, 2 months ago

ECE you are making the assumption that parents of these children care enough to get their children to class. Or will the state be going door to door?

ECEforAll 10 years, 2 months ago

I've been working in the field for nearly a decade and no, not all parents get their children to school, but enough do. You would be surprised how many "bad" parents are willing to take their children to school simply to have some time with them out of the house.

These programs also apply to children with early identified learning disabilities and households with single or dual working parents. Placement in Pre-K doesn't automatically mean a child has bad parents, but that for one reason or another that child is at risk of falling behind his or her peers once they arrive at elementary school.

Are you suggesting to save taxpayers cost, and simply tell children with parents who don't have the desire, skills, or resources to academically support their children, that they are out of luck?

avoice 10 years, 2 months ago

Between the lines, this says that families are the reason people become criminals. The sooner we take kids away from the family environment and the longer we keep them away on a daily basis, the more likely we are to prevent them from becoming criminals. On the other hand, the last thing we would ever want to do is to stop any man/woman/child from bringing babies into the world in the first place.

georgeofwesternkansas 10 years, 2 months ago

No, what I am saying is that we can spend every penny we have on education, but until parents make education the most important thing in their childs life nothing will change.

What studies are the people talking about, or do we need to just take thier word for it. Thats the problem with us informed voters and taxpayors, we just don't to take your word, we want to judge these claims for ourselvs. $23 million is more than pocket change to dump into a program that once started will never go away.

I feel for these kids, but reality is I cannot raise my neighbors children to be good people, and neither can you.

Mkh 10 years, 2 months ago

I cannot believe I just read this.


pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

georgeofwesternkansas (Anonymous) says:

"What studies are the people talking about, or do we need to just take thier word for it. "

If you go to the website of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, they make many, many repeated references to a single controlled study that was published 15 years or more ago, which involved a grand total of 123 kids. They talk about other studies, but it seems most of them weren't controlled (in the controlled study they randomly assigned kids to either get the program or not), they just compared kids that had pre-K to 'similar' kids that didn't. On the flip side, someone posted some links in the other thread about kids who spend time out of the home (like in daycare or pre-K) having more behavior problems later on. The research is far from definitive, and I have serious doubts as to whether it justifies huge investments. Seems that the only valid conclusion is that some parents aren't taking care of educating their kids, and those kids do better if you keep them away from their parents.

ECEforAll (Anonymous) says:

"Pre-K does not suggest that every child needs to attend, rather that those who are at risk have it available to them."


"You would be surprised how many "bad" parents are willing to take their children to school simply to have some time with them out of the house."

In other words, the state should take over as parents for the kids whose parents don't give a hoot. I understand it's not the kids' fault, and maybe it's not right to say they're SOL because their parents are worthless. (Not all of them, I know, but you acknowledge this is the reasoning for some of them?) But is the state taking over as parents the answer? If so, why wait until they're 3 years old? Why not just take over as parents when the kids are born?

ECEforAll 10 years, 2 months ago

I do research in early education for a living and that may contribute to some of my strong feelings on this subject. Rather than continuing to try and drive home my point that quality early educational opportunities are beneficial to all children, I encourage you to look and read some of the research yourself. Below are sites of a handful of research articles including Pre-K and improvement in academic, social, and emotional behaviors shot and long-term, Pre-K and crime in adulthood, the impact of investing in early education as a economic investment in the future, the debate over early education and challenging behaviors, and the benefits of Pre-K on low, middle, and upper class children. Copy and paste the website and read for yourself.

I am in no way suggesting that we raise someone else's children:but I am concerned about a world where we lack the foresight to invest in the early education of our children when it is so clearly linked to positive outcomes.

georgeofwesternkansas 10 years, 2 months ago

Sorry I dropped out for so long, we do homework with our children from 7-9.

If the thrust of this is to empty the prisions in the future, and the solution is early placement in a civilized environment then lets do it, but maybe it would be best to refrence a definative study before we create a $12 million/per year program.

Right now CNN is talking about an 18 y/o college girl found shot to death at Auburn. Ya know, maybe the state raising these at risk children from birth is not such a bad idea. I am quite certain I do not wish this for my daughter, or yours.

pisafromthewest 10 years, 2 months ago

Uh, okay.

Your first link was to a "longitudinal" study that only followed them through kindergarten. It was not a controlled study in that it did not randomly assign kids to pre-K or non-pre-K groups, it studied them after the fact. The only real conclusion was that the kids who had school before kindergarten knew more before kindergarten (duh) and that they had maintained some of the advantage by the end of kindergarten - a whole year later. For some reason I didn't bother with the rest of the links.

jafs 10 years, 2 months ago

Wow - lots of strong opinions on this one!

It seems to me that it's common sense to try to prevent crime rather than wait until it happens, and deal with it then.

If investing in some early childhood education has a chance of doing this, I'm all for it. Why are people so keen on paying for police, judges, and jails but not for preventive measures?

It's not the children's fault if their parents aren't doing a good job, and they shouldn't be punished for that.

I'd rather live in an America that actually cares about children and demonstrates that than one that throws it's hands up until they become criminals and then punishes them.

Just my opinion.

ECEforAll 10 years, 2 months ago

kansasdaughter : I fully agree about the numerous combination or factors that influence a child's outcomes. However, I can't control what a pregnant woman eats but, I can strive to make sure early educational opportunities are available to every child who needs them.
What about the cost of holding children back grades, both financially for taxpayers, and socially and emotionally for the child who is told their peers are moving up a grade, but they cannot? I have read Freakonomics and while there are some legitimate points, I have also read decade's worth of research in quality early care and education and have witnessed the positive effects of Quality early education experiences on children first hand.

pisafromthewest: I encourage you to read further, I imagine it's hard to see the full picture when one stops reading after 1 article on the subject.

jafs: I couldn't agree more.

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