U.S. Education Secretary to Visit Kentucky and Ohio to Discuss the Importance of Early Learning and to Participate in Town Hall on Bullying Prevention

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel to Kentucky and Ohio on Thursday, June 20, to visit two early childhood centers to discuss President Obama's plan to expand early learning opportunities to more children, as well as to participate in a town hall on bullying prevention and comprehensive school safety efforts.

On Thursday morning, Duncan will visit the St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education in Louisville and hold a roundtable with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and other local leaders. The St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The center uses hands-on learning and requires teachers to continually advance in professional training and education. A press conference with local leaders, including Fischer, Conway, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce CEO David Adkisson, the Rev. Cynthia Campbell from Highland Presbyterian Church, and retired Maj. Gen. Michael W. Davidson, will follow the event to emphasize the importance of high-quality early learning programs.

In the early afternoon, Duncan will travel to Middletown, Ohio, where he will visit the YMCA Children's Center, which is also an NAEYC-accredited program, on the Miami University Middletown Campus. There he will host a community town hall, which will focus on the importance of expanding early learning opportunities for all children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Following the town hall, Duncan will join a press conference with former Procter & Gamble CEO John Pepper, Col. Julie Blike and the Rev. Robert Harper from the First Baptist Church of Kennedy Heights.

The President, in an effort to help all children begin school on a level playing field, put forward in his 2014 budget request an historic new investment in early learning that would make preschool available to all 4-year-olds from low- to moderate-income families; expand evidence-based home-visiting services for vulnerable families and children; and support quality improvements through a new Early Head Start-Child Care partnership.

Later that evening, Duncan will visit Cincinnati, Ohio, to participate in the town hall on bullying prevention and school safety co-hosted by the National PTA and Discovery Education. PTA leaders, students and a school counselor will join Duncan for the town hall meeting to talk about strategies that educators, parents and community members can use to implement bullying prevention programs and comprehensively address school safety, including mental health assistance. The meeting will feature a video message from Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, and the discussion will be moderated by National PTA President Betsy Landers.