The Military Gets It; So Why Not PA?
High-quality early care and education supports children and families today and improves national security tomorrow
A generation ago, the Department of Defense developed and invested in an exemplary early care and education system for our country’s military families. At that time, military leaders noted the changing composition of the force to include more women and families. As such, this investment in high-quality early care and education was viewed as a critical workforce support so that those parents could most effectively do their jobs of protecting the nation.
In addition to supporting the workforce, early care and education helps ensure that our next generation is “citizen-ready”— healthy, well-educated and prepared for productive lives. Our national security depends on qualified young adults who are ready, willing, and able to serve in the U.S. military. However, educational deficits, health issues, and behavior problems currently prevent 71 percent of Pennsylvania youth from qualifying for service. These concerns are echoed by Pennsylvania business leaders who have difficulty hiring workers with adequate skills, training or education.
There is scientific consensus that brain development from birth to age five sets the stage for children’s future success.
High- quality early education environments like child care and pre-k provide a foundation for academic achievement, social competence, improved health, and greater productivity.
Investing in the state’s early care and education programs will better support working families and the citizen-readiness of our next generation.