Last week, Secretary Duncan spoke at the annual conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which represents the largest national gathering of stakeholders in the early childhood education community.
Secretary Duncan noted that the nation has a special opportunity today to build a bigger, better-coordinated system of early care and education for its youngest learners. “It is time to transform early learning from a system of uneven quality and access into a system that truly and consistently prepares children for success in school and in life,” he stated. (See the text of his speech.)
The Obama Administration has stressed the importance of developing a seamless cradle-to-career educational pipeline. But, as President Obama and Secretary Duncan have pointed out, that pipeline will not work properly unless the road to college begins at birth. Secretary Duncan cited the need for educators and schools to get out of the “catch-up business” now by making a strong commitment to prepare children for high achievement before they enter kindergarten.
After his remarks, Secretary Duncan joined in an impromptu dance with a gathering of NAEYC staff members and well-known children’s songwriters and musicians.