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York and Adams County Law Enforcement Leaders Tell Rep. Platts: School Reform Bill Can Help Fight Crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2010

Contact: Bruce Clash,

Office: 717-233-1520

YORK, PENNSYLVANIA (July 14, 2010) – Law enforcement officials met with Rep. Todd Platts in Spring Garden Township yesterday to discuss opportunities to reduce crime through the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Rep. Platts will be a key legislator in the renewal of that bill as a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee-the panel responsible for writing the reform legislation in the House of Representatives. Attending the meeting were York County District Attorney Thomas Kearney, Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner, York City Police Chief Wesley Kahley, York Area Regional Police Chief Thomas Gross, Spring Garden Township Police Chief George Swartz and Springettsbury Township Police Chief David Eshbach.

They met with Platts urging his support for education reforms that will help reduce future crime. They recognized Platt’s strong focus on education issues in Congress and asked him to consider reforms that will help cut crime by helping kids succeed academically and stay out of trouble. They specifically recommended providing kids with early education, keeping school-age kids on track to graduation, and reducing bullying, school violence and drug abuse, which would all have a positive effect on preventing later crime.

The law enforcement leaders asked that the reauthorization of the federal education bill provide incentives for states to increase access to high-quality pre-kindergarten, encouraging a shift to pre-k through 12 education, not just a K-through-12 approach. Providing at-risk children with high-quality pre-kindergarten can significantly reduce later involvement in crime and improve graduation rates.

A study of the Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Mich. found that at-risk kids left out of the high- quality program were 5 times more likely to be chronic offenders by age 27 than their peers who participated in the program. The kids who attended were also 44 percent more likely to graduate from high school than those left out.

Research shows a clear connection between educational success and decreased involvement in crime. One study found that high school dropouts are eight times more likely to be incarcerated than graduates. Nationally, nearly 70 percent of state prison inmates lack a high school diploma. Research compiled by the anti-crime group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids also shows that a one-year increase of staying in school reduces murder and assault by almost 30 percent, motor vehicle theft by 20 percent, arson by 13 percent and burglary and larceny by about 6 percent.

The law enforcement leaders were representing Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national anti- crime organization of police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and violence survivors with more than 200 members in Pennsylvania and more than 5,000 members nationwide.

“Research shows that investing in high-quality pre-kindergarten can save us a lot money down the road by reducing crime and corrections. We need to focus on early childhood education so that more kids become high achievers instead of high-risk offenders,” said Bruce Clash of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. The group also urged that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act hold schools accountable for improving graduation rates and ensure graduation rates are calculated consistently and accurately. Additionally, they asked that the reform measure include evidence-based programs that reduce dropout rates and cut down on bullying, school violence and drug abuse.