I grumble when I drive downtown and see the monstrosity of the jail construction. With 30 years in early childhood education, I continue to be perplexed by how long it takes leaders and legislators to understand the research. Cost-benefit analyses have shown for every dollar invested, more than $10 is returned in savings; remedial education and criminal justice, coupled with an increase in economic well-being and tax revenues.
Instead of the million dollars we are spending on space for inmates (mentally ill at that) we need to support local investments in early education programs.
Do you know that Head Start has been here for 53 years serving over 10,000 families? Ninety-nine percent of our funding comes from Administration for Children and Families, with very little to no local support. We serve those who fall below the federal poverty line, including pregnant women, infants up to age 5 and their families.
In the short-run, Head Start provides a range of education, health, nutrition, and family support services that benefit children and their families. Our ROI is from long-term educational, health, economic and social impacts.
Karen Bruning, Bloomington
The writer is executive director, Heartland Head Start.