A Seattle Times article explains how early education programs in Chicago have paid dividends twenty years down the road. An oversimplified justification for early education programs could be simple economics. A co-author of the study said, “the gains in terms of reduced social-welfare costs have far exceeded the program’s $5,000 per student, per year cost to the Chicago public-school system.” Social programs are often eliminated from government budgets despite the numerous long-term benefits.
The people who were in these programs also described themselves as depressed less often and more likely to possess health insurance. Again, the long-term benefits of early education become apparent.
Further benefits based on this study are as follows:
– higher high school graduation rates,
– fewer felony arrests and incarcerations, and
– more have full-time employment.
It would seem to make sense that the more education provided to people ages three and four the more likely the individuals will be successful later in life. Early investments pay off down the proverbial road.
Currently, a large portion of my community does not want to invest in the futures of our youth. We barely passed a levy last year, but this year a bond failed by 24 votes. Letters continue to plague the pages of our local paper decrying the bond.
Especially frustrating are the letters with incorrect information. Since this bond is only concerning infrastructure, a new alternative school–the focus of much of the dissent–to replace an obsolete structure, repairs to other buildings, and the replacement of Eisenhower-era buildings, the letters discussing how the money goes to teachers and to support “those” kids are points of conflict.
Kids, current and future, will benefit from these new buildings. These structures need more than band-aids, which was previously done for years, and now is the time to do it. Prices will only go up; in fact, the price of the new alternative school has already tripled since being voted down in 2001.
We will be able to offer more early education programs to our community’s children with this bond passage. We need the facilities, and then we can provide the opportunities.
I only hope this bond passes and that early education programs continue to prosper.