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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 31, 2013 at 6:34 AM

Dropout rate in high schools

Invest more in early-childhood education

I could not agree more with The Seattle Times’ opinion that we must do more to reduce the dropout rate in our state [“Editorial: Lower the dropout rate,” Opinion, May 27].

In addition to the “moral and financial” costs of dropouts, there is a high criminal-justice cost. Our jails and prisons are filled with people who do not have a high-school diploma. In fact, dropouts are eight times more likely to be incarcerated than those who earn a high-school diploma.

The Times’ editorial urges the Legislature to support legislation focused on students at the greatest risk of dropping out. I have one more suggestion for the Legislature: Increase funding for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, our state’s preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families.

Research has shown that when children who are at the greatest risk of school failure attend high-quality preschool programs, they are much more likely to do well in school and graduate.

In one study, low-income kids who participated in a high-quality preschool were 44 percent more likely to graduate from high school than kids in the control group. This investment will pay off in better school outcomes and safe communities.

Ed Holmes, chief of police, Mercer Island Police Department

Comments | More in Education | Topics: children, dropout, early learning

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