MAINE–Letter to the Editor in Bangor Daily News
Letter to the Editor: Early education
As Bangor’s chief of police, I was concerned as I read Ron Bancroft discussing the downward trend in reading success of Maine’s fourth-graders (“What happened to Maine’s young readers?” 5/29/12). As one of Maine’s police chiefs, it’s worrisome that Maine’s youth are evidently not keeping up academically: an undereducated populace will have an impact on our public safety. It is clear from the research that a high school dropout is eight times more likely to be incarcerated than a graduate.
We can help jump-start the education of our children by focusing on early childhood learning. The first years of life are the time when our youngest citizens will not only gain early literacy and language skills, but also a long-term foundation for success as well.
Children who develop flexible learning skills and social development traits early in life are more likely to become successful students and graduate from high school. Research studies have shown that at-risk kids who receive high-quality early childhood education are more likely to earn a diploma and will be less likely to end up on the wrong side of the law.
Our state and federal leaders can help Maine children get the best possible preparation for school and for life by providing them with early childhood education. This approach can improve the school readiness of our children, and our communities will be safer for it.
Ronald K. Gastia
Bangor Chief of Police
This letter appeared in the June 22, 2012 copy of The Bangor Daily News of Bangor, Maine.