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Opinion >  Letters

Early learning aids military

I was pleased you reprinted “Early learning investment pays off” (July 8). In my opinion, it also impacts our national security.

As a retired admiral and prior school administrator, I am concerned that 71 percent of young people in our nation are not qualified for military service. The choice to serve in our all-volunteer force is not an option to them. The major reasons are poor educational achievement, obesity, and a record of crime or drug abuse.

As a member of the nonprofit organization “Mission: Readiness,” I believe early childhood education can help address the primary disqualifiers for military service. It can prepare children to start school ready to learn and improve their academic performance. It can also increase the probability they will graduate from high school, stay out of trouble and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It is gratifying to know Washington has a high-quality early learning program, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Unfortunately, 10,000 vulnerable children in Washington who are eligible for the program are not served due to inadequate funding. Our state’s increased support of ECEAP is a critical investment in our children and our country and should be a priority.

Ret. Rear Admiral Doug Asbjornsen


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