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Invest in pre-K

| Monday, March 10, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

In response to the editorial “Universal pre-K? It would be a huge waste that would dwarf Head Start's failure” : In my work with the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, I see every day the benefits of high-quality preschool.

The evidence is overwhelming in proving that investing in high-quality pre-K is a smart choice. At-risk children who experience high-quality pre-K are less likely to commit crimes later in life. Society gains more productive citizens, with reduced reliance on social services and higher lifetime earnings.

The economy gets a boost. In the immediate picture, every dollar invested in pre-K circulates $2 in local economic impact. And there's an astounding long-term return of $17 for every dollar, through public savings and benefit.

As a parent, I'm excited to be a part of the Pre-K for PA campaign, which is dedicated to ensuring that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania has access to high quality pre-K.

The foundations for the success of every child are laid in the first, critical years of life, from birth to age 5. When we invest in high-quality pre-K, we invest in a stronger Pennsylvania.

Michelle Figlar

The writer is executive director of he Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (paeyc.org).

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