October 15, 2010

A salute to Educare

Kennebec Journal Staff

My congratulations to everyone involved in creating the Educare Center in Waterville! As someone who began his career in education, I am proud that Maine is taking this bold step to provide the highest-quality early education to some of Maine's youngest at-risk children. It's a plus not only for these kids, but also for Maine's future and our national security.

Earlier this year the retired military leaders of Mission: Readiness released a Maine report "Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve" which shows that 75 percent of young Americans between 17-24 are not able to join the military mainly because of three factors: They have not graduated from high school, they have a criminal record, or they are physically unfit.

The best-proven way to reverse this alarming trend is through high-quality early education. Long-term research studies have shown that early education reduces criminal behavior and improves graduation rates. For example, one study shows that children in a high-quality early education program, like the new Educare Center, were 44 percent more likely to graduate high school and were also less likely to be involved in later crime.

Educare is Maine's new gold standard for high-quality early learning programs and one that I hope can be replicated all across Maine. Every Maine child deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her dream -- whether that is a military career or a career in another field. We need to equip today's youngest citizens with the tools to succeed and Educare does that.

John W. Libby

Major General

US Army (Ret)


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