By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Parents, educators, grandparents, and others who have a vested interest in getting more public funding for early childhood education in Pennsylvania were being encouraged today to get their message across to legislators by sending photos of themselves.

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Each year, the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children holds a conference, but executive director Sharon Easterling says this is a particularly important year for the conference because of the Pennsylvania governor’s race.

“When folks are running for office they tend to listen to what constituents want.   About 80 percent of people in Pennsylvania think investing in pre-K is a good idea,” she said today.

To get that message across, her organization has launched the “PreKforPA” web site and is pushing its #IamPreK social media compaign.

“People should take a selfie and they should tweet it with the hashtag #IamPreK,” Easterling said today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  She says “selfies” put real faces on the issue of public funding for early childhood education:

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“We want the candidates to understand that these are real people in Pennsylvania who pay taxes and who vote and who care deeply about this issue because they know how important it is.”

(Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

(Credit: Hadas Kuznits)


Easterling adds that quality education before age five goes a long way for the child.

“We know that children learn more in the first five years of life than at any other time,” she notes.   “Ninety percent of brain development happens in the first five years, yet we don’t really invest in education until our K-12 system.  Research shows us that when kids have good preschool experiences, they do much better in school.”

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