U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell to Visit St. Michael's School and Nursery Early Learning Program in Wilmington

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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Monday, April 15 for a tour of St. Michael's School and Nursery preschool classrooms from 10:30-11:15 a.m. ET to observe their early learning program and highlight the President's Preschool for All proposal to expand access to high quality preschool for all children. A press availability will follow the tour at 11:15 a.m. St. Michael's is a recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in Early Care and Education and is a Delaware Stars Quality School. Delaware is using $50 million from the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge to implement "Delaware Stars-for-Early-Success" quality rating system to move more early learning programs to higher quality. President Obama is committed to an early learning agenda that will ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life. The President's 2014 budget proposes $75 billion over 10 years to create new partnerships with states to provide high-quality preschool for all four-year olds. Funding would be provided to states and distributed to local school districts, or local school districts in partnership with other early learning providers, to offer high-quality preschool programs. An additional $750 million would provide competitive grants to states to strengthen their early learning systems. The U.S. Department of Education also will work closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to significantly expand and improve services to younger children through Head Start by expanding home visiting and improving the quality of early childhood programs. Following the school visit, at noon, Duncan and Markell will deliver remarks at the launch of the Delaware Early Childhood Council's new Early Childhood Strategic Plan at the Penn Cinema Riverfront Imax in Wilmington. This event will bring together community and business leaders, early childhood advocates and professionals from across the state. The strategic plan, entitled "Sustaining Early Success: Delaware's Strategic Plan for a Comprehensive Early Childhood System," has four overall goals: a healthy start for all children; high-quality early education programs and professionals; an aligned and effective early learning system, birth through third grade; and a sustained system improvement