This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, showered praise on Philadelphia’s pre-K expansion during a visit on Tuesday and stumped for similar action at the federal level.
Pelosi spoke alongside other heavy hitters such as Gov. Wolf, Mayor Kenney, Pennsylvania State Rep. Dwight Evans, and School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite during a pre-K roundtable hosted by Public Citizens for Children & Youth and the United Way.
Her message to Philadelphia was simple: You’ve got our attention.
“Something great is happening in Philadelphia when it comes to pre-K,” she said, referring to the city’s planned addition of 6,500 quality pre-K slots over the next five years.
Pelosi’s pitch seemed as targeted toward fiscal conservatives as it was to the liberal politicians in the room. Echoing logic often used by early childhood advocates, Pelosi said pre-K investment pays for itself because it frees parents to work, increases the intellectual capacity of students, and reduces the eventual likelihood that those students end up in jail.
“When somebody says we cannot spend this money in the budget because it’s going to increase the deficit, that is a false economy,” Pelosi said. “The facts are these: Nothing brings more money to the treasury of a locality, the state, or the federal government than investing in education.”