By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Quality preschool for lower-income children hangs in the balance as the Pennsylvania budget is debated, and an advocate for it makes the case that this program benefits all of us.

The initial plan to cut $24-million from child care subsidies has been modified somewhat but not so that Sharon Easterling can rest easy. As Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, she says investment in early childhood education, pre-school, pays off 17 to 1 in money terms, and in other ways too.

“Special Ed placement rates are reduced. Grade retention rates are reduced. Children are twice as likely to be ready for school, to be ready to perform on grade level, if they have high-quality pre-K.”

Easterling is pushing for no cuts this year and as the Budget moves through the House she sees hope that will happen, but, not satisfied with the status quo, she’d like to expand programs to those on a long waiting list.

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