New Kid's View

Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.

Pay Now or Pay More Later

early childhood education, incarceration, Fourth Street Forum, Turner Hall, Milwaukee, Head Start, $$$, MPTV

 Ours has become a "Charge It" society in more ways than one.

Yesterday, the hidden costs, not just to children whose families can't afford preschool, but to all of society, of not ponying up for early childhood education were spelled out. What's at stake is far more than equipping youngsters with certain skill sets or trying to even out the playing field somewhat for kids born into less opportunity that others.

The longterm costs are in higher incarceration rates; less revenue from income, property and sales taxes; school test scores which affects state and federal funding, and more education funding available to benefit all students because it isn't being diverted to compensate for the rest of some students' school years for their lack of early childhood education.

The venue for that discussion was the Fourth Street Forum at Turner Hall in Milwaukee.

A question in that discussion was, what can an advocate do to reach out and get more public support for early childhood education programs, such as Head Start? The answer given at the Forum was to point out the benefits to society.

I think the answer has to be more concrete and relevant than that to get people's attention these days. Like, $$$. Like, how much is it going to cost me.

So here's a comparison that might, but I say only might, make someone sit up and look:

The cost to incarerate a person in prison for one year = $30,000-$60,000, depending on the state.

The cost per child of one year of preschool = $8,700.

That doesn't begin to tote up the loss of tax revenue, buying power and school funding for arts, sports and other educational essentials. Neither does it address another incalcuable benefit of early childhood education. Raising the IQ of children who attend preschool by impressively measurable points.

The Forum takes place live at noon on Thursdays, but can be seen on MPTV at 9 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Sunday. Here's a link to the website. Take a look. It might lead to great savings to society in many ways.

Home to School: Rethinking Early Childhood

Research shows that young children must have certain skills before starting their formal education. What are those skills? How do parents and home life help prepare young children for school? How important are daycare, K-4 and 5? Does the community play a role?

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