Several members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York, including Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Hempstead Police Chief Joseph Wing, recently visited Rainbow Chimes, an early-education center in Huntington, to urge school officials to apply for pre-kindergarten grants before the application deadline passes.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York is a bipartisan anti-crime organization of 300+ police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors. It is part of a national organization of more than 3,000 law enforcement members.
DA Rice said high quality pre-kindergarten not only prepares children to succeed in school, it also prevents crime, saves New York State residents taxpayers' money and is good for the economy.
Data from the long-term study conducted by the High/Scope Educational Foundation on the Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Michigan, shows benefits that last long into adulthood. More than 35 years after they received the enriched pre-K program, research has documented major gains for Perry Preschool participants versus comparable children who did not participate in the program in three areas - crime, education and economics.
Crime prevention gains: children denied high quality pre-K were four times more likely to be arrested for drug felonies in their lifetime (28 percent versus 7 percent); more than twice as likely to become "career criminals" with 10+ arrests by age 40 (31 percent versus 14 percent); twice as likely to be arrested three or more times for a violent crime (20 percent versus 10 percent); and almost seven times more likely to be arrested for possession of dangerous drugs (20 percent versus 7 percent).
Educational gains: children participating in the program were less likely to repeat a grade (21 percent versus 41 percent); more likely to graduate from high school (65 percent versus 45 percent); and more likely to score higher on various intellectual and language tests during their early childhood years, on school achievement tests between ages 9 and 14 and on literacy tests at ages 19 and 27.
Economic gains: as adults, children who participated in the program were more likely to be employed (76 percent versus 62 percent); more likely to earn higher wages ($20,800 versus $15,300); and more likely to own their own home and have a savings account (75 percent versus 50 percent).
This study, along with numerous others, proves that investing in high quality early care and education, including preschool, help set children up for lifelong success and provide large benefits to communities from savings to taxpayers to preventing future victims of crime. Specifically, the High Scope/Perry Preschool study documented a return to society of more than $17 for every tax dollar invested in high-quality early childhood care and education.
Floral Park is a pre-existing UPK (universal pre-K) district. Its total UPK grant allocation for 2007-08 totals $206,556, with $114,755 the amount of the submitted application and $91,801 of the funds not used. A total of 42 students are to be served by this grant application.
In nearby Elmont (another pre-existing UPK district), which includes Stewart Manor in its school district, $778,682 is the total amount of the UPK grant allocation for 2007-08, with $529,200 the amount of the submitted application and $249,482 of the funds not used. A total of 274 children are to be served by this grant application while 17 children will not be served by it.
Governor Spitzer and the legislature added a total of $146 million for preschool in this year's budget in the first year of an intended multi-year expansion. Spitzer has made providing preschool to all 4-year-olds within four years a priority. The money has already been allocated on a district-by-district basis but each school district must apply for the funds. Law enforcement officials are urging school districts to apply for the new money that has been allocated for this year. They also called on the State Education Department, who administers the new pre-K funds, to better assist the localities in utilizing the dollars with added technical support and planning resources.
"We realize that there are big challenges in getting programs up and running for this school year but we also know what is at stake here. A 4-year-old can't wait. I urge community leaders and schools to do whatever it takes to use the money that is currently available because a 4-year-old can't wait and the opportunity lost for this year's preschoolers won't come again," DA Rice said.
According to Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York State Director Meredith Wiley, "Many school districts across Long Island have yet to apply for pre-K funds that have already been allocated, leaving over $14 million on the table that could otherwise help get hundreds of kids in Suffolk and Nassau counties on track for school success and help prevent crime in the long run."
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York has more than 300 police, chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, other law enforcement leaders and violence survivor members, including Garden City Police Commissioner Ernest Cipullo, DA Rice and recently retired Nassau County police commissioner James Lawrence.