U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke highly of Mississippi’s early childhood education efforts on Wednesday during an Education Writer’s Association web panel about early education.
Duncan spoke about the Obama administrations’ proposal to expand high-quality pre-K to more children by partnering with efforts already in place in various states. That effort would need bi-partisan Congressional support, which it has not yet received, in part because of the challenges of funding it.
Duncan mentioned states with Republican governors that have recently expanded early education efforts and mentioned Mississippi.
He was later asked to speak more about Mississippi’s efforts and whether it was a state the federal government would be a good candidate for this effort or if it would need to do more work.
“I think Mississippi is really trying to work hard in this effort and in this area,” Duncan said. “Mississippi is a state where we know there is tremendous need and tremendous inequity and where academic outcomes aren’t where we want them to be or should be. I’ve talked to folks who are real passionate educators in Mississippi and there is a real effort there to do more and to invest. We would love to do more to partner with a state like Mississippi.
“There is tremendous unmet need in the vast majority of states throughout the country, but a state like Mississippi is clearly one where we would love to be a strong partner and do everything we could to help children get off to a great start academically and socially as well.”