U.S. Department of Education Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning Libby Doggett will deliver keynote remarks at the National League of Cities (NLC) Talk, Read, Play, Everyday Community Conversation in Kansas City, Missouri, on Monday, Aug. 25 at 10:15 a.m. CT. Doggett will discuss the importance of providing access to high-quality early learning opportunities to all children. The Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will also discuss the Community Conversations partnership between the U.S. Department of Education and the NLC.
The conference will bring together leaders from the faith community, large employers, hospitals, the social service sector, school districts, early childhood providers and philanthropic organizations to focus on commitments to promote the Talk, Read, Play, Every Day campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to close the word gap among young children and improve school readiness.
President Obama is committed to closing the opportunity gap and working with states and local communities to ensure high-quality early learning for every child, so that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life. The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services recently announced that applications are now available for the $250 million Preschool Development Grants competition. The goal of Preschool Development Grants is to support states – including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – in building, developing and expanding voluntary, high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities for children from low- and moderate-income families. The new grant program will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
The president's 2015 budget request would create a federal-state partnership that would ensure universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, with incentives for states to provide high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds. It also includes support for other early childhood investments as part of a cohesive system of early learning and development for children, beginning with prenatal care and continuing through third-grade.