Congress has been consumed with talk of cost-cutting and smart spending. We say pre-kindergarten is a great place to start; it's much easier to nurture a child than rehabilitate a young adult.
And there are far too many children in need of rehabilitation in America, with about 1.9 million juveniles arrested yearly. Preventing crime and helping these youth is not only the right thing to do, but stands to save us a lot of money: It costs around $88,000 a year to incarcerate a juvenile.
Pre-K costs only around $4,000 a year, a bargain for the nurturing, socialization and education a child receives. And pre-K has been shown to reduce crime. An often-cited study of Chicago at-risk youth showed that those who got high-quality pre-K were 39 percent less likely to have been incarcerated by age 28.
Tell Congress: Looking for smart investments? Start with Kids!
It costs states very little to provide a child pre-kindergarten for a year--especially compared to the cost of incarcerating youths. When you consider that studies of pre-kindergarten show it reduces juvenile crime, it's clear that federal support for pre-kindergarten is a smart investment.
Pre-K is a bargain for the nurturing, socialization and education a child receives. As state governments tighten their belts, the federal government must ensure that they aren't forced into making short-sighted cuts on one of our best investments: our youth.