The title of this month’s Editor’s Focus can apply to many things in life. If you don’t spend a little now to do preventive maintenance on your car, it will most likely break down sooner and require a major, expensive repair. So reason dictates it is best to pay a little now to avoid having to pay much more later.
Same with your home; pay a little now to do things such as change your equipment filters, clear your gutters, etc., and you will prevent having to shell out big dollars for major repairs in the near future. In other words, pay a little now to avoid having to pay much more later.
The same holds true in education. The results of a recent study from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, “State of Our Schools 2013,” illustrates what inaction can cost. In 1995, it was estimated that it would cost $112 billion to bring public school facilities to good condition. Eighteen years later, that cost now is estimated to have skyrocketed to $542 billion. Pay now or pay much more later.
And consider early education. Research shows that at-risk children without access to quality pre-kindergarten are five times more likely to grow up to become criminals than comparable children in quality pre-kindergarten. Law-enforcement leaders acknowledge that early-childhood education programs are among the most powerful weapons to prevent crime and violence.
Putting it in dollars and cents: For every dollar invested in early-childhood education, it is estimated that $7 is saved in the future for the cost of state prisons.
We must find a way to pay for education initiatives that we know work and that will benefit all of us in the long term. By making investments now, we will not only steadily improve conditions but also suppress and hopefully eliminate the much higher costs and problems that we would have to face in the future.