Upton, law enforcement emphasize early childhood educationPublished 12:56pm Monday, September 16, 2013
KALAMAZOO — U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined with several area law enforcement officials Monday for the release of the Michigan report, “I’m the Guy You Pay Later,” part of the National Early Childhood Campaign by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national bipartisan, non-profit organization that does not receive federal, state or local government funding.
Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit said in the report that the choice is simple: “Pay for quality early education and care for Michigan’s kids now or pay far more for the costs of crime in Michigan in the decade to come.”
“I’ve been a long-time advocate of quality preschool programming,” said Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “It’s impressive to see what this program could do in terms of changing lives for the better and saving money in the long term.”
The report shows that starting the proposed state-federal early education partnership could reduce the number of people in prisons by 4,300 in 10 years, resulting in $206 million in the state and increasing the number of high school students by 50,000. “My jail is filled with people who took the wrong path in life,” Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said in the report. “For many, the trouble began with academic struggles and behavioral problems early on, resulting in later school failure and crime. It shouldn’t have to be that way.” The Michigan report is part of a national survey that found that the cost of a state-federal partnership for preschool programs will cost $75 billion during a 10-year period – the same amount spent every year nationally for corrections departments to incarcerate more than 2 million.
Michigan spends $2 billion annually.