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The U.S. Department of Education is giving Arizona a $20 million development grant for early childhood education
. That's a very good thing. There's little argument that getting kids in educational situations before kindergarten is valuable for their educational and social development. Even Gov. Ducey agrees
"Research shows that a quality early childhood education experience can yield significant long-term benefits on overall development of a child."
Yes, Ducey said that, adding, "We know that there's a good return on investment." And he's aware that Arizona has one of the lowest rates of preschool enrollment in the country. But he still won't fund it, because, well, we can't do things that are good for children and still cut business and income taxes—let alone add more beds in our for-profit prisons—can we?
So we'll have to leave it to the Feds to help us do what's right for kids.
Kelley Murphy with the Children's Action Alliance says the four-year federal grant of up to $20 million per year will be used to improve preschool services.
"This is a development grant, and it allows us to do a lot of the infrastructure work that has to be in place before we can really start expanding the number of kids that are getting into these programs," she says. "So it is a game-changer in that sense."
And speaking of the Feds working to improve educational opportunities
, here's a program that widens access to the internet.
President Barack Obama has announced a new program that will seek to provide roughly 275,000 low-income families living in public housing with access to affordable high-speed Internet connections, as well as technical training and digital-literacy programs.
Dubbed ConnectHome, the initiative aims to bring together private Internet service providers, public-housing agencies, and elected officials and non-profit groups. The program is the latest step in the President's ConnectED broadband-infrastructure effort. It comes as leaders from the Federal Communications Commission, school-technology groups, and others have begun a concerted push to close the "homework gap" that results from many low-income students' inability to access reliable Internet connections outside of school.
"While high-speed Internet access is assumed for millions of Americans, it's still out of reach for too many people—especially in low-income and rural communities," Obama said in remarks at Oklahoma's Durant High School last Wednesday.
This initiative won't hit Arizona, unfortunately. It's starting up in 28 communities around the country, none of them around here.