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U.S. Secretary of Education Calls Colorado Early Learning Strides 'Impressive'

courtesy of U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr. reads to kids on the Read Where You Are Day of Action.

U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr. says Colorado’s strides to improve early childhood education are promising, but says there is still room for progress when it comes to making it accessible to all families.

On a visit to Denver Monday, King met with more than 30 state education leaders.

“I was very encouraged by the meeting because of all of the progress that Colorado is making,” King said.

He cited $45 million in grant money the state received in 2013 as part of the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” program.

The money was invested in programs like Colorado Shines, which rates pre-schools. It also provides training and resources for pre-schools and early learning centers that wish to improve. The program has swelled to include more than 4,000 schools across the state. King called growth in the past year “impressive.”

King says Colorado has more work to do to give access to kids from low-income families -- and to those whose first language is not English.

“We know that having access to those quality early learning opportunities can make a huge difference in students’ readiness for k-12 and their long term success,” he said.

Ann Marie Awad's journalistic career has seen her zigzag around the United States, finally landing on Colorado. Before she trekked to this neck of the woods, she was a reporter and Morning Edition host for WRKF in Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capitol. In a former life, she was a reporter in New York City. Originally, she's from Buffalo, so she'll be the judge of whether or not your chicken wings are up to snuff, thank you very much.
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