“I don’t even use the word ‘preschool’ any longer, because I think education starts at birth,” explained Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) yesterday at an early childhood education event in Des Moines, Iowa. Harkin, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, joined Secretary Duncan at Carver Community School to highlight the importance of early learning as an investment in the future well-being of America’s students.
Duncan and Harkin joined education and community leaders from across Iowa in a roundtable discussion on the importance of quality early learning programs, focusing on how these programs have benefited both rural and urban communities.
Secretary Duncan highlighted the administration’s recent announcement that it will invest $500 million in a state-level Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. The Challenge will reward states that create comprehensive plans to transform early learning systems that include better coordination, clearer learning standards, and meaningful workforce development and family engagement initiatives.
While in Iowa, Secretary Duncan also delivered the keynote address at the Iowa Education Summit where he offered his assessment of Iowa’s progress in strengthening its education system.
For more information on ED’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, click here.