Share This Page

Early learning pays

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

I was pleased to read in the news story “United school board agrees to add Pre-K staff, hires finance director” (July 26 and TribLIVE.com) of the expansion of pre-K classrooms within the United School District. As a retired Army lieutenant general, I know such early-education investments are important for our future national security.

The Department of Defense reports 75 percent of people ages 17 to 24 are unable to enlist in the military, largely because they either fail to graduate from high school, have a criminal record or are physically unfit. Left unchecked, this level of ineligibility presents a real recruiting problem for the future.

It is clear that Pennsylvania and the nation must do much more to adequately prepare our children. High-quality pre-K has been shown to improve academic performance and increase graduation rates — making sure more children possess the skills necessary to one day serve as the backbone of our military or civilian workforces.

With this in mind, my fellow retired generals and admirals of the nonprofit national-security organization Mission: Readiness applaud Gov. Corbett for the expansion of quality early-learning services in this school year.

It is unfortunate, though, that waiting lists for these services still abound. In fact, less than 17 percent of Pennsylvania's 3- and 4-year-olds are served by publicly funded high-quality early education. Corbett and the Legislature must continue to increase our investment in Pre-K Counts, Head Start and high-quality child care to reduce this unmet need and better ensure that our next generation is citizen-ready.

Dennis L. Benchoff

Lancaster

The writer is a former Army Recruiting Command chief of staff.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.