Letter: Early learning deters early crime



I was glad to see that Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and a bipartisan group of House members are joining forces on a new early learning proposal, reported Nov. 14, “Sen. Murray proposes preschool initiative.” The articles in The Columbian about this proposal highlight the positive educational and social outcomes that are achieved when kids attend early childhood education programs.

As prosecuting attorney for Skamania County, I would add crime prevention to the list of proven benefits of high-quality early learning. Longitudinal research on early learning programs has shown that at-risk youngsters who attend high-quality preschool not only do better in kindergarten and beyond, they are also more likely to graduate and less likely to commit crimes as juveniles and adults. This is why prosecuting attorneys, sheriffs and police chiefs in Southwest Washington and throughout the state have been actively supporting increased funding for these programs. We would all rather see kids with diplomas than rap sheets. If we invest in our youngest learners now, we will have less crime in the future.

I hope the rest of the Washington congressional delegation joins Sen. Murray and their colleagues across the country in supporting this important legislation.

Adam N. Kick