A high school diploma is like a roadmap away from jail.
Kansas' attorney general joined lawmen from some of Kansas City's largest suburban cities to issue a report card even as the school year is just beginning.
Sleeves rolled to the elbow, Attorney General Steven Six leaned into a podium at Kansas City police headquarters, saying:
"More than forty percent of area children drop out of high school. Nearly seventy percent of prison inmates don't have diplomas. The answer is early education."
And Six says fully funding Early Head Start programs is a must. Six knows the power of the lobby for a laudatory cause. In his words:
"When you can get the police chief of Lenexa or Overland Park to meet with their legislators and say, Here's the program we want, and I can tell you what makes a difference, that connection moves the legislation forward."
Six suggests boosting graduation rates in Kansas by just 10 percent would prevent 24 homicides in his state, 70 in Missouri and thousands of violent assaults.