Sheriff Jones Discusses Importance of Pre-K Program

January 24, 2018

On January 24, 2018, Tom Green County Sheriff David Jones held a roundtable discussion at Alta Loma Elementary School to outline the importance of continued funding of early childhood education programs.

Jones is a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a bipartisan, non-profit organization comprised of more than 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors who advocate for evidence-based programs that help keep kids on the right track, and decrease future crime. 

One of the programs that the organization's members advocate for is high-quality pre-K. A recent Texas-specific report shows high-quality early learning programs can lead to better student performance in school and fewer high school drop-outs. This ultimately results in fewer crimes committed and a reduction in the number of prisoners – all of which saves taxpayer dollars. 

The roundtable discussion was an opportunity for Sheriff Jones to discuss the evidence-backed data that shows why pre-K is so important to our communities. Jones shared personal experiences that highlight how early education can help reduce crime and keep kids on the right track. “With seven out of ten inmates not having a high school diploma, it only makes sense to do what we can to ensure that our children are starting off on a strong academic foundation,” commented Sheriff Jones.

Seven SAISD elementary schools currently offer Pre-k programs. "San Angelo ISD has been fortunate in that our community understands the importance of early education and four of the seven elementary schools offer full-day Pre-K.  We hope to eventually offer full-day at all of our elementary schools," stated Dean Munn, Executive Director of Accountability and Federal Programs for San Angelo ISD. 

The Texas Legislature invested $118 million in high-quality Pre-K grants during the 2015 Legislature as a way to improve the quality level of Pre-K throughout the state, but that grant was not extended during the 2017 Legislative Session. 

"I understand there’s only so much money in our state’s budget, but I hope the Legislature will prioritize investments in early education since studies have shown that it does decrease future crime. It cost much less to educate than to incarcerate," says Sheriff Jones.