Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2013, 6:00 am

Letter: R.I. County sheriff lauds Illinois Preschool for All

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As the sheriff of Rock Island County, I applaud our community's encouragement to restore previous funding cuts to Preschool for All, the state-funded preschool program ("Advocates seek restoration of early childhood education funds" Jan. 18.)

Preschool builds a strong foundation for students' academic careers. At-risk students who attend preschool are far more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Also, special education placements can be reduced. Giving our kids a strong start is the first step to future success.

In addition to promoting academic success, preschool also reduces the likelihood of becoming involved with crime. A study of the Perry Preschool Program, a high-quality program in Michigan considered a model for early childhood education, has shown dramatic results in combating crime. This long-term study found that children who did not attend the program were 86 percent more likely to be sentenced to prison or jail by age 40.

Illinois is still recovering fiscally and has limited dollars to spend. Preschool is one of the best investments we can make that promotes public safety and success for our future generation. In fact, the Perry Preschool study found that taxpayers save as much as $16 for every $1 invested.

With such a great return on our investment, I hope our state legislators commit to making Preschool for All a priority.

Sheriff Jeff Boyd,
Rock Island County