National report emphasizes importance of early childhood education

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - A commitment to pre-kindergarten is a commitment to national security. That's the basis of a national report released Tuesday morning that outlines how high quality early childhood education can save our country billions of dollars while strengthening our military and our nation. Mississippi Senator Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula was in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to help present its findings.

Alarmingly, the Department of Defense estimates that 75 percent of all young Americans are unable to join the military primarily because they are too poorly educated, have a serious criminal record, or are too overweight. More than one in five high school graduates who tried to join the Army could not score highly enough on the military's entrance exam to be allowed to serve.

The retired admirals and generals of MISSION: READINESS recognize that there are many factors impacting educational achievement. But there is one factor that has been proven to have a crucial impact on children from all backgrounds, and that is high-quality early learning.

Tuesday's report shows that the Administration's state-federal early education proposal could lead to two million more high school graduates nationwide and $150 billion in net economic benefits to society.

The report also highlights results of quality early education programs here in Mississippi. Senator Brice Wiggins helped author the recently passed bill that creates Mississippi's first publicly funded pilot pre-k program. He has also worked closely with Pascagoula's Excel by 5 Coalition to help further early education opportunities for children in South Mississippi.

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