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Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Early education is important for future national security

High-quality education can help high school graduation rates and military entrance exam scores

I applaud your editorial supporting the Strong Start for America’s Children Act [“Pass early learning plan,” Opinion, Dec. 6].

As a retired Coast Guard admiral, I would like to add that high-quality early childhood education is also important for our future national security. The Department of Defense estimates that 75 percent of young people nationwide cannot serve in the military, and poor academic achievement is one of the leading reasons.

In Washington state, almost one in four young people does not graduate from high school on time. And of those who graduate and try to join the military, one in six cannot pass the military’s entrance exam.

Quality early childhood education can change this. Studies show that these programs lead to academic gains lasting well into elementary school and also significantly improve high school graduation rates. This is why hundreds of retired admirals and generals from Mission: Readiness support the bipartisan Strong Start for America’s Children Act. This act would help children grow up with the academic and social skills that are vital for success in higher education and careers, including the military for those who choose to serve.

— Ray Riutta, Redmond

0 Comments | More in Education, National Security | Topics: national security

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