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Education Secretary pushes expansion of preschool in Bloomington visit

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All-day kindergarten? Check. Now is Minnesota ready for all-day preschool?

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited the state Tuesday to tout a federal push to make full-day preschool available to 4-year-olds from low-income families.

After visiting a Bloomington early education classroom, Duncan highlighted the Obama administration's "Preschool For All" initiative. The Pioneer Press says the administration estimates that children from poor families start school a year to 14 months behind their peers. Duncan says access to preschool can help close the racial achievement gap, calling it the civil rights issue of our generation.

The Pioneer Press reports Duncan lauded Minnesota's work on early education. $170 million allocated by this year's Legislature will help make all-day kindergarten available statewide beginning next year.

MinnPost reports the federal initiative could make $39 million available to Minnesota to expand preschool programs. MinnPost also says Duncan's appearance was a showcase of sorts for the leader of the state's new Office of Early Learning, former St. Paul city council member Melvin Carter.

Here's more on "Preschool For All."

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