Warren: Early childhood education is an investment in kids and communities

HARRISBURG, May 4 – State Rep. Perry Warren said Friday that early childhood education programs are an investment that will put more kids on paths to bright futures and save Pennsylvania taxpayers in the long run.

Warren participated in the Bucks County Educate vs. Incarcerate Roundtable, hosted by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids on Friday morning. The roundtable included a bipartisan group of legislators, as well as representatives of area law enforcement agencies, corrections facilities, schools and early learning centers.

“It’s clear from decades of research that investing in high-quality early learning programs is good for our youngest learners and good for our communities,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “High-quality pre-K helps ensure children are ready to succeed when they enter kindergarten and increases the likelihood that they’ll graduate from high school. In addition to that, conservative estimates have shown that for every $1 spent on early education, the commonwealth would save another $7 on special education needs, public welfare and prison funding.

“But in Bucks County, 74 percent of children eligible for publicly funded, high-quality pre-kindergarten do not have access to such a program. That’s unacceptable,” Warren said.

Warren said he supports Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal for a $40 million increase in next year’s budget to expand access to publicly funded pre-kindergarten statewide. The governor has also, with bipartisan support, called for a severance tax on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, the only major gas-producing state without one.

“A reasonable severance tax – estimated to generate $248.7 million in revenue next year alone – would help us pay for these critical programs without placing more of a burden on taxpayers,” Warren said. “An investment in early childhood education is an investment in our children and the future of Pennsylvania.”