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Education is a security issue

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As a retired general and former head of the New Mexico National Guard, I view proposed cuts to early care and education programs as more than just a local problem for parents of young children.  These cuts represent a serious threat to our national security.

Consider this: In New Mexico, one in three of our high school students fails to graduate on time. Among those who do graduate, more than one in four seeking to join in the Army cannot enlist because of low scores on the military’s basic entrance exam in math, literacy and problem solving.  ...

A key solution to improve academic performance, especially among at-risk children, is high-quality early learning. ... The success of these high-quality interventions is why more than 200 retired generals and admirals including myself are urging elected leaders to maintain support for early care and education.

Within the next few weeks, state Sen. Pete Campos and his colleagues in the state legislature will give final consideration to possible cuts in child care assistance and the state’s pre-K program.  

Meanwhile in Washington, U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall will take up proposals that sharply reduce federal programs like Head Start. Our elected leaders need to be mindful of the long-term value of these programs. Without high-quality early care and education programs, our dropout crisis could eventually become a national security crisis.

Melvyn Montaño
Major General
U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
Albuquerque