Getting our youngest Pennsylvanians off to a great start


Nearly 113,000 pre-school children in Pennsylvania who qualify for high-quality early education aren't receiving the benefits of Pre-K.


Pennsylvania should consider that a failure since pre-K plays a crucial role for many children not just in K-12 success but in a successful career and life beyond school.


Early education saves taxpayers money by reducing the need for remedial instruction, grade repetition and special education. It also increases graduation rates, college and technical school enrollment, and is even linked to better careers and higher incomes later in life. 


Yet nearly 70 percent of young children who should be receiving the benefits of a quality early education in Pennsylvania aren't because our state hasn't put a premium on it.


That needs to change with this state budget. In November, House Democrats asked Gov. Tom Wolf to increase investments in Pre-K and Head Start in his 2017-18 budget proposal. He responded by including $75 million more for our young children.


Unfortunately, House Republicans slashed that amount by $50 million when they passed their budget bill on April 4 -- a bill not one Democrat voted for.


House Democrats proudly support early education because the results show that it works.


It's a cost-effective way to improve learning and life for thousands of children in Pennsylvania and a way to avoid the more-expensive costs of dealing with the social problems that arise when all kids don't get to school ready to learn and prepared to succeed. 


House Democrats will be fighting to fully restore this important investment in the final version of the budget. Together, we can maximize the benefits of school for your child and for every child in Pennsylvania.