Centre Daily Times: Expanded Preschool Access Crucial to Community, Centre County Leaders Say

STATE COLLEGE — Pushing investment in early education, county leaders and organizations met Friday to discuss the community benefits of expanding access to preschool.

Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, State College police Chief Tom King, Rear Adm. (Ret.) Thomas Wilson and Nittany Kiwanis Club President Bill Franz gathered at St. Paul’s Christian Preschool and Childcare to stress the importance of quality Pre-K programs.

The event was hosted by Pre-K for Pa., a non-partisan campaign seeking to ensure that all 3- and 4-year-olds in the state have access to high-quality preschool by 2018.

Pre-K for Pa. is made up of several organizations, including Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and Mission: Readiness – Military leaders for Kids, who have banded together to renew the push for better Pre-K schooling.

King, who is a member of the Fight Crime initiative, said he is a big believer in preschool.

“A lot of law enforcement is prevention,” he said. “This is a whole different area of prevention that’s important.”

When a child drops out of high school, he said, the likelihood of being arrested skyrockets. Establishing a good education early helps prevent these dropouts from occurring. Also, he said he’s willing to look at anything that can help reduce the cost of corrections.

Even though prison populations didn’t change, the prison system is spending $150 million more this year than last, Corman said.

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