U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Visit Parklawn Elementary School Preschool Development Grant Program and Hold Press Conference

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit Parklawn Elementary School on Friday, Oct. 2, to highlight the importance of investment in early learning and to make an announcement about early childhood education.  Duncan will be joined by Linda K. Smith, deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Delegate Thomas A. (Tag) Greason, Virginia House of Delegates; Secretary of Education Anne Holton, Commonwealth of Virginia; and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott and U.S. Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia for a visit to Ms. Alex (Lexi) Coyle’s preschool class of 17 four-year-olds. Following the classroom visit they will hold a press conference at the school.

Expanding access to high-quality preschool is critically important to ensuring that every child in America has the opportunity for lifelong success. Despite the evidence showing the importance of early learning, House and Senate committees have authored spending bills that eliminate Preschool Development Grants, a program that is in the middle of building and expanding high-quality preschool in 250 high-need communities across 18 states that span the geographic and political spectrum.  By cutting this funding, as the spending bills currently do, Congress jeopardizes state and community plans to serve more than 100,000 children in high-quality preschools in the last two years of the grants.

Last December at the Early Education Summit the administration announced $750 million in new federal awards through the Preschool Development Grants and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.  These investments are supporting early learning for over 63,000 additional children across the country this year. At the Summit, corporate and philanthropic leaders pledged commitments of over $330 million to expand the reach and enhance the quality of early education for thousands of additional children.

Following the school visit, the White House will host an important education update call for stakeholders around the country who are working to expand access to early childhood learning. Members of the media are invited to listen in on the call.

During the past week, P-12 education stakeholders have been hosting activities and preparing statements to amplify the need for investment in early learning.  On Thursday, October 1st at 2:30 p.m., the National Women’s Law Center, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, First Five Years Fund, ZERO TO THREE, the Early Care and Education Consortium, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the National Head Start Association and the National Association for Family Child Care will hold a national conference call. On Friday, Ready Nation, an organization of business leaders from across the country, is holding their 2015 Global Business Summit on Early Childhood Investments in New York City where they will focus on the value of investments in our youngest learners. MomsRising and other partner organizations are also sponsoring a Twitter Chat on Friday at 2:30.