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Retired Military Leaders Back Obama's Early-Childhood Plan

President Barack Obama's early-childhood education plan could lead to a projected two million more high school graduates nationwide and $150 billion in net economic benefits to America over 10 years, states a report released Tuesday by Washington-based Mission: Readiness, a nonpartisan security organization made up of 350 retired military leaders.

It is critical for our nation to have an educated population and for the U.S. Armed Forces to be able to draw talent from it, states the report, "A Commitment to Pre-Kindergarten is a Commitment to National Security."

"Currently, 75 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. cannot serve in the military, primarily because they are too poorly educated, physically unfit, or have a criminal record," a press release from the group states.

One of the solutions, then, is to begin preparing children as early as preschool, the organization states.

"Many young people are celebrating their graduation from high school this month, but 22 percent of teens nationwide aren't graduating on time," said Victor E. "Gene" Renuart, Jr., a retired Air Force general, in a statement. "Many of those who do graduate and try to join the military are both disappointed and surprised to learn that they do not have the literacy, math and problem-solving skills we require. These academic deficits have a direct impact on our nation's military readiness."

The goal of Mission: Readiness is to educate policymakers in the area of early-childhood education, as well as child nutrition and physical activity in schools.

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