Excerpts from the report:
This report concludes that the time for "reasonable doubt"about the value of quality pre-kindergarten programs is past. Recent long-term studies show that at-risk children who attend quality pre-kindergarten and educational child care programs are far less likely to become criminals than those denied access to such programs.
Poor quality early care multiplies the risk that children will grow up to become criminals and threatens the safety of all Tennesseans. Children from lower-income working families are most at risk of becoming involved in crime without quality programs. Unfortunately, lower-income families have the most trouble obtaining quality care, and are the families whose children would benefit the most from it.
Today, only about one-third of Tennessee's 4-year-olds are served by state and federal pre-kindergarten programs due to lack of funding. Even fewer 3-year-olds are served. With tuition at private preschool programs exceeding the cost of tuition at a public university, the shortage of government-supported programs forces many low and moderate-income working families to resort to child care that often amounts to little more than child storage.
Research shows that it is possible to give all kids a fair shot at success in school and in life. As this report shows, investment in quality pre-kindergarten now will save taxpayers money in future crime costs.
That is why Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association, the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference and dozens of other state and national law enforcement organizations are united in calling on policy-makers to guarantee all families access to high quality pre-kindergarten programs.