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Area Leaders Urge Universal Pre-Kindergarten For Pennsylvania Kids

By Justin Udo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --Area business and civic leaders gathered today to endorse a new initiative to promote pre-school education for every child in Pennsylvania.

The statewide program is dubbed "Pre-K for PA: All Children Ready To Succeed."

Jill Michal, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and New Jersey, says high-quality pre-school programs are now available for less than 20 percent of three- and four-year-olds in Pennsylvania.

"Access to a high quality pre-kindergarten experience should be available to all children in the State of Pennsylvania," she said today, "regardless of the neighborhood you came from or the zip code you were born into."

Michal says the goal of this program is to ensure that children across the state have the opportunity to use initiatives and programs to better prepare them for school.

"Education doesn't start in kindergarten -- it is a cradle-to-career journey," she said.

Officials endorsing the program say the more we can educate the state's youngsters, the less likely they will need special education and remedial instruction, or become involved in criminal activities.

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