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Carving inroads through community efforts is one thing, and certainly worth the time and sweat. But eventually Indiana will need to address just how far back it is falling behind other states when it comes to access to pre-kindergarten education.

Gov. Mike Pence made pre-K education one of his top goals, taking time to testify for House Bill 1004, which would create a limited preschool program. It was the first time the governor had testified in a General Assembly committee for a specific bill.

Last week, HB 1004 was stripped down in a Senate committee. Questions about long-term funding left senators with second thoughts, as they sent the preschool issue to a summer study committee.

Pence’s agenda for this legislative session included several wishes involving substantial amounts of money. That’s always a tall order in a non-budget year for the General Assembly. So the governor’s preschool goals seemed destined for a full vetting in the 2015 session, when the General Assembly will piece together the state’s next two-year budget.

There will be no excuse next year, though. The General Assembly can’t keep walking away from a commitment to pre-kindergarten education. Too many Hoosier kids are being cheated.