Officials laud preschools

By Corey Streeper

GROSSMONT COLLEGE – Can’t get your child into preschool? He may be 70 percent more likely to become a juvenile delinquent than will be your neighbor children who do go to preschool.

That was one of the startling findings of a survey revealed during a press conference last Tuesday at Grossmont College’s Child Development Center by a bevy of public officials including District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Sheriff Bill Gore, Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, and San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and El Cajon Police Chief Pat Sprecco.

They reported that a recent study by the “Fight Crime: Invest in kids” executive committee put into light the harsh truth about what happens to the children who don’t attend preschool.

In addition to being 70 percent more likely to commit a violent crime by the age of 18, they also are 40 percent more likely to be placed in a special education program by middle school, according to the report. These children are also 10 times more likely to be held back a grade before reaching high school.

These officials said it’s important to make early education more available to children. With most private preschools being too expensive for many parents, this committee is calling for more government funding.  True, the state has a budget crisis, but the public officials contended at the news conference that spending on pre-schools would mean savings in the long run.

“When we spend 16 to 1 on crime prevention versus education we could easily save that by putting more into early education and preventing crime altogether,” Congressman Hunter asserted. “We would also save about $80 million a year on special education by lowering the number of required students … needing it,” stated District Attorney Dumanis. “

While no bill currently is pending in the state Legislature to increase early childhood funding, the committee members said hope to have one ready soon.
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Streeper is a student in Media Comm 132; email him at coreys@gcsummit.com

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