Wednesday, December 18 2013 5:28 AM EST2013-12-18 10:28:40 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The nation's top teacher headed back to class Thursday morning in Louisville.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is visiting with students, staff, and local leaders at the St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education. He also participated in a roundtable at the neighboring Brandeis Learning Center.
"Less than three of 10 four-year-olds have access to high quality early childhood education," he said. "We have to stop playing catchup and make sure our babies start kindergarten ready."
Duncan says the purpose of his trip is to push President Obama's proposed $75 billion expansion for pre-Kindergarten programs throughout the country. "I think about those children who enter kindergarten a year to a year and a half behind," he said. "I think about our high school dropout rate and rates of incarceration and ultimately this is all linked."
WDRB's Gilbert Corsey was the only local reporter to speak one-on-one with the education secretary Thursday morning. When asked whether one idea to fund the measure would be a new tobacco tax, and whether he could find bipartisan support, he replied, "Washington has been more dysfunctional than I would have liked, but what I tell the country is, take the lead from the governors who have been very supportive, both Republican and Democrat.
A study suggests that only 36 percent of JCPS students come to Kindergarten prepared.