Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) praised the Obama administration's announcement today that it will invest $500 million dollars in early childhood education programs across the country through a series of competitive grants to states that set higher standards for their preschools and provide a viable plan to meet those standards.
"The "Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge' illustrates once again President Obama's strong commitment to quality early education," Congresswoman Hirono said. "Today's announcement is very good news for our children, our parents, and our economic future."
On April 27th, Hirono -- named "2008 Pre-K Champion" by Pre-K Now, a national preschool advocacy group -- submitted a formal request to the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to set aside "a significant portion of the funds provided in Race to the Top for a separate state competition to serve the needs of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers."
Forty-three Members of Congress signed on to Hirono's April 27th letter, and the "Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge" announced today will largely follow that model.
"President Obama deserves enormous credit for his commitment to providing early childhood education to so many children and families in Hawaii and across the country, and for doing so in such an innovative and competitive way," said Congresswoman Hirono.
A member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Congresswoman Hirono has been a strong voice for quality early education since serving as Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor. In 2008, Hirono led the fight to pass a landmark expansion of pre-K education funding through the House Education and the Workforce Committee.