Organization urges lawmakers to spare preschool programs of cuts

Organization urges lawmakers to spare preschool programs of cuts

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Preschool programs are at risk of losing state funding and police across Louisiana are not happy about it.

Many departments are backing a report released Wednesday that shows how early education leads to less crime.

Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown is a strong supporter of preschool.

"I strongly urge our legislators to avoid these tragic cuts," Brown said, referring to proposed cuts for three statewide early education programs.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national organization with offices from California to New York, released a report Wednesday on the benefits of early education. Their research shows preschool education saves money in the long run.

If more kids get early education, they have a better chance of finishing high school, and they don't end up in jail or the court system, costing taxpayers more money.

"What a child learns during those formative years becomes the foundation upon which later learning is built," said Leon Cannizzaro, Orleans Parish District Attorney.

Cannizzaro said in his experience as an attorney and judge, the majority of the criminals he deals with did not finish high school or even eighth grade.

"We can continue to invest in our state preschool programs, and ensure that our children get a high quality educational experience, or you can pay guys like us, you can pay us a whole lot to deal with the crime problem."

Preschool teacher Katrina Saverin gave an educator's perspective on the issue, saying kids fall behind quickly in school without early intervention.

"We have children that are coming into our program that don't know how to get along with others, that don't know their letters, their numbers, their shapes. But the basic thing we need is to keep this program in place here in Louisiana," Saverin said.

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