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Early education programs can fight crime, police say

Jordan Travis • Jul 21, 2015 at 10:53 AM

Also present were local members of Fight Crime, including Ottawa County Sheriff Gary Rosema, Ottawa County Prosecutor Ronald Frantz, Ottawa County Sheriff’s

Sgt. Valerie Weiss and Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Capt. Rick Yonker. Paul Troost, a regional representative from U.S. Sen. Carl Levin’s office, also attended.

Figures from the study show that children who attended state pre-kindergarten programs had much higher odds of succeeding — both academically and in life — than kids who didn’t. In Tennessee, students performed 82 percent better in early literacy and math than students not in the program. A study on students of Perry

Preschool, a school that served disadvantaged children in Ypsilanti, and a control group found that those who did not attend were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18.

This is where the Great Start Collaborative can help. The program is offered to children four years of age. Their families must meet income eligibility requirements or have risk factors established by the state, including abuse or neglect, behavior problems and parental education levels, according to a release from the program.

Programs like Fight Crime, a nonpartisan anti-crime organization that promotes programs like Great Start, have changed how its law enforcement members look at fighting crime.

“We once thought we could just arrest people and send them to jail,” Rosema said.

He said the sheriff’s office began to look at helping early education programs because they “thought there was a better starting point.”

Read more of this sory in today's print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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