By Jim Melwert

By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Armed with a new report that ties high-quality Pre-K education to developing future STEM skills, military leaders joined members of regional business chambers to urge state lawmakers to increase funding for pre-K education in Pennsylvania.

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Retired Army Major General Wes Craig oversaw the Pennsylvania National Guard. He says he joined other military leaders in advocating for better early education.

“When we became aware that some 70-percent cannot make the standards to join the United States military.”

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Craig’s Mission Readiness is one of the groups behind the report on STEM and early childhood education.

“Some 90-percent of the brain development occurs before the age of five. Unfortunately, we as a society spend the least amount of public education on this very young population.”

Along with Pre-K for PA, they’re asking state lawmakers to include a 90-million dollar expansion for Pre-K education in the upcoming budget, giving 7,400 more children access while allowing an additional 6,200 to go for a full school-year rather than a half-year.

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The group says children who start behind, stay behind, and they don’t just disappear, instead resulting in higher costs down the road in remedial programs, and even incarceration and rehabilitation.