Priceless education

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The children of Pennsylvania received an early Christmas gift on Dec. 19 when our state was awarded $51.7 million by the U.S. Department of Education for the Race to the Top Early Learning grant.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration diligently focused on securing this grant, and it will be used over the next four years to support the governor’s vision for early childhood education in Pennsylvania. Gov. Corbett is a strong champion of early childhood education, and he has shown this by increasing the state’s support of early education programs by $43 million over the last three years.

My daughter Chloe was born with Down syndrome in 2003, and my family faced uncertainty when we received her diagnosis. Early intervention/​early childhood education services instilled the priceless gift of hope in our lives by focusing on Chloe’s abilities. Chloe turned 10 this year and thanks to her early foundation, she attends fifth grade in her neighborhood school with typical peers reading at grade level!

The fastest-growing cost in most state budgets is corrections, which has no positive return for this expense. Early learning occurs from birth to age 5, when 85 percent or more of brain development happens, and this proven investment returns $7 to $14 for every dollar spent. As chair of the governor’s early intervention advisory council, I have heard countless stories across Pennsylvania of children making incredible progress thanks to these services.

Thank you, Gov. Corbett, for your unwavering commitment to early investment in our most priceless Pennsylvania resource — children.

Upper St. Clair

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