WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is accusing congressional Republicans of trying to "gut our investments in education" as he takes administrative steps to tackle early childhood education without the need for legislative action.Obama made his remarks while announcing changes that would require Head Start programs to compete for federal money.The announcement is part of a continuing effort by Obama to distinguish himself from Republicans and to take executive actions that don't require congressional approval. The president was visiting a school in Philadelphia, in the key presidential battleground of Pennsylvania.The president said early childhood education is important because it catches children at a critical period in their lives.He criticized Republicans for voting against a proposal in his $447 billion jobs package that would have protected teachers from layoffs.