U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today issued the following statement on North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue's announcement to extend early childhood education to 2,000 at-risk North Carolina children:
"I applaud Gov. Perdue's innovative efforts to ensure that 2,000 additional North Carolina children will have access this year to the high quality early childhood education they deserve.
"While the Governor has been a tireless advocate for fully funding early childhood education, her commitment has not been matched by the legislature, which slashed budgets last year leaving thousands of children with fewer educational opportunities.
"The benefits of early childhood education pay dividends for years and it is one of the best investments we can make. I hope that, as state leaders begin funding conversations for next year, they work to make this situation right by giving all of North Carolina's young at-risk learners a chance to succeed."