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Police Promoting Early Childhood Education

SPRINGFIELD- Law enforcement leaders say the best way to fight crime is to start in the classroom.
Law enforcement leaders say the best way to fight crime is to start in the classroom.

"It looks like they're playing, but they're just learning so many things," Debbie Clark said. She is a big advocate for early childhood education. She is the director here at Washington Park Preschool.

"Early childhood is the most important time of a child's life and if they don't get a good beginning, then it's going to be hard for them down the road," said Clark.

These kids are learning something new every day, whether it's how to share or make a friend. They seem like pretty basic skills, but Clark says they can make or break a child's future.

"You could be cognitively bright, but I'd you don't have the social skills around you then you're going to struggle," she said.

And no one wants to see that happen, including law enforcement agencies here in Illinois. A new report shows kids who don't attend preschool are more likely to wind up in jail.

"Our jails unfortunately are full of kids who didn't get this type of opportunity," said Tim Carpenter who is the Director of Fight Crime Invest in Kids Illinois.

So to put an end to that trend, they're asking Governor Quinn to give more funding to preschool programs. It's been cut by nearly $55 million over the past three years.

"As they get older, they're much less likely to get in trouble with the law, so law enforcement leaders from around the state are big supporters of early childhood education as a crime prevention tool," said Carpenter.

And if that tool isn't available, it could cost taxpayers millions of dollars when it comes to social services and crime education. Advocates says the bottom line is the need for Pre-School is there.

Governor Quinn plans to give an extra $20 million to early childhood education programs this year. The general assembly will have to vote on that a long with the rest of his budget proposals next month.
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