Convinced that youngsters who struggle in kindergarten are more likely to find themselves slouching in the back of squad cars before graduation, law enforcement officials nationwide are pleading for more preschool funding, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The idea is that school success is a shield against criminal behavior, and success begins in preschool, said Bruce Clash of the Pennsylvania branch of the national group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. Pittsburgh Police Chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr. and Allegheny County Sheriff Peter DeFazio helped release a survey of 800 kindergarten teachers that shows their frustration with youngsters who are disruptive and unprepared because they lack preschool training.
The law enforcers cite research that has shown graduates of good preschool programs are far less likely to commit crimes later in life than contemporaries without preschool experience. A poll of Pennsylvania law enforcement officials earlier this year found that they’ve bought into the “preschool as prevention” philosophy. The majority, 64 percent, said the strategy most effective for reducing youth violence and crime would be providing low- and moderate-income children with high quality preschool programs.