Re: “Report ranks state’s preschool program among nation’s best,” (TNT, 7/5).
As a retired Navy admiral, I am very concerned that 69 percent of young people in Washington, and 71 percent nationwide, are not qualified for military service. The major reasons are poor educational achievement, obesity, and a record of crime or drug abuse.
Research highlighted by the nonprofit Mission: Readiness, of which I am a member, shows that quality early-childhood education can help address the primary disqualifiers for military service. It can prepare children to start school ready to learn. It can also improve student performance, boost graduation rates, deter youth from crime, and even reduce obesity rates by instilling healthy eating and exercise habits that contribute to a lifelong culture of health.
The good news is that Washington has a high-quality early learning program, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program. The bad news is that 10,000 low-income children in our state who are eligible for the program are not served due to inadequate funding. Investing more in ECEAP would help ensure our children’s future and our future national security.