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Vermont Wins Early Education Grant

Friday, December 12, 2014
Burlington — A $33 million federal grant to be awarded to Vermont over four years will be used to expand access to quality early education for Vermont children in need to ensure that every child gets a strong start, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Thursday.

Vermont was one of 18 states to share in the $1 billion in public-private spending on early education programs announced by President Obama on Wednesday.

Shumlin and other officials visited an early education class at the Ira Allen in Burlington on Thursday and praised Vermont’s congressional delegation and staff for helping to secure the funding.

“What this grant actually invests in is services, direct services, dollars, subsidies for kids, to ensure that they have a strong start and thrive in our Vermont school system,” Shumlin said. “We all know that the best and most important investment we can make is in our children when they are young, and all the research suggests that the brain is 90 percent developed by age 5 so if you don’t get there early you’re missing a huge opportunity.”

Eighty percent of Vermont communities now provide early childhood education, the governor said. The grant, in addition to $37 million Vermont received last year to lay the foundation for its pre-kindergarten program, will ensure that every 4-year-old who is at twice the federal poverty level or below will be able to access free pre-kindergarten in Vermont, Shumlin said.

That level is an income of $48,000 for a family of four.

Shumlin signed a bill this spring mandating districts to provide 10 hours of pre-kindergarten education, but implementation is being delayed until the 2016-2017 school year.

The federal grant will be used to provide technical assistance to schools and programs to help them move to universal pre-kindergarten, officials said. It also will allow schools and providers to share best practices and work together on training and professional development, the governor’s office said.




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