The Top Ten List for Why the Expansion of High-Quality Early Learning is Inevitable

Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the National Governors Association Winter 2014 Meeting, February 23, 2013

(Note: Speaker abridged and deviated in spots from his prepared remarks)

Thank you, Governor Beshear. It’s great to be back at the NGA. And I welcome this opportunity to talk about the role of early learning with our governors. On both sides of the political aisle, it’s the governors who are really leading the nation in expanding high-quality early learning, from birth to age five.

10. There is much greater public awareness today of the importance of the early years to the long-term health, learning, and success of our children and our communities–and it is coupled with widespread public support for a big expansion of early learning.

9. A powerful, bipartisan coalition of governors are funding expansions in the states—in some cases, big expansions—of high-quality early learning programs.

8. There is a remarkably diverse and robust coalition of law enforcement officials, military leaders, clergy, CEOs, unions, parents, and others that strongly support expanding high-quality early learning opportunities.

7. The old arguments that states should have no role in providing low- and moderate-income families with voluntary access to early learning and child care have lost force.

6. There is a growing recognition that quality matters tremendously when it comes to early learning.

5. For the first time, a majority of the states are now assessing the school readiness of children when they enter kindergarten.

4. The enactment of third grade reading laws in many of your states is going to propel an expansion of high-quality early learning.

3. America is way behind high-performing countries in our provision of early learning–and there is a growing awareness that high-quality early learning is critical to sustaining our international economic competitiveness.

2. America is currently in the midst of an unprecedented wave of innovation and capacity-building when it comes to early learning–and a new federal-state partnership helped unleash this wave of innovation.

1. The enormous unmet need and demand for high-quality early learning.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Available at: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/top-ten-list-why-expansion-high-quality-early-learning-inevitable

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