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In Cary, U.S. Secretary Of Education Pushes Biden's Expanded Pre-K Plan

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Gov. Roy Cooper tour Bright Beginnings Child Development Center in Cary.
Cole del Charco
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Gov. Roy Cooper tour Bright Beginnings Child Development Center in Cary.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stopped in Cary on Thursday to promote President Joe Biden's proposal to offer free preschool to all 3 and 4-year-olds. It's part of a sweeping plan Democratic leaders hope will mean recovery from the pandemic won't simply be a return to "normal".

After visiting a classroom of masked children at the Bright Beginnings Child Development Center, Cardona and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the state and country need to invest in two years of preschool for all children.

Classroom 0520.jpg
Cole del Charco
Sec. Cardona, Secretary of NCDHHS Dr. Mandy Cohen, Gov. Roy Cooper and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt meet students.

Cardona said giving all students Pre-K makes it more likely children will be able to stay in school longer and have more successful careers.

"We know when children are offered quality three and four-year-old programs, their ability to succeed in school and go on to higher level courses is there," Cardona said. "The research is there."

Cardona said part of the administration's "American Families Plan" is to offer two years of free community college, and it would boost earnings among Americans who were able to attend.

"I think what it does is, not only helps the students, but it helps our communities, it helps our economy, it helps our country," Cardona said. "I think it costs more to intervene when we have underemployment or folks that are out there without the skills that they need to be successful."

Cooper announced Wednesday that he hopes the legislature will set aside $300 million for education funding, including about $160 million for expanding Pre-K.

"Well, we can't afford not to do it," Cooper said. "We need to make the investment."

Cooper says the timing is right to invest in education, with pandemic relief funds.

"We have an unprecedented amount of funds available for us to make these investments," Cooper said.

Cole del Charco is WUNC’s morning reporter. He’s worked for WUNC since 2019.
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