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Casey, White House Education Advisor, Pottstown Community Discuss Kindergarten Readiness Initiative

Tour Pottstown Montgomery Early Learning Center; host discussion on early childhood education

POTTSTOWN, PA U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today toured the Pottstown Montgomery Early Learning Center (MELC), which has a federally funded Head Start program. Following the tour, Senator Casey hosted a roundtable on early childhood education.

“As children in Pottstown and communities across the Commonwealth are heading back to school, it’s our job as parents, educators and community members ensure that they are ready to learn,” said Senator Casey. “Research clearly shows that children’s ability to learn begins long before they step into a kindergarten classroom and that investing in children at an early age will pay dividends in terms of better performance in school and beyond. The Pottstown community has become a model for how public-private investments in children can help even our youngest citizens learn and reach their full potential – and I look forward to sharing the communities experience with my colleagues in Washington.”

Senator Casey was joined at the roundtable by leaders from area school districts, early learning and child care centers and businesses and community leaders. He was also joined by Roberto J. Rodriguez who serves in the White House Domestic Policy Council as Special Assistant to President Obama for Education.

“So much of our nation’s success depends upon ensuring every child in this country gets a good start in life. Investing in early learning programs are not just children’s issues, they are economic issues that affect our workforce, our productivity and our competitiveness,” Senator Casey added. “I appreciate Roberto joining me here today, and I look forward to working with the Administration and others in Washington to move forward programs that support successful initiatives such as the one here in Pottstown.”

Senator Casey has been a leader in supporting proposals to expand and enhance early learning opportunities in Congress.

He introduced the Prepare All Kids Act (S. 839), legislation that would help all children prepare for school by providing high-quality pre-kindergarten education. The Prepare All Kids Act will assist states in providing at least one year of high quality pre-kindergarten to children. The plan calls for a new federal investment to be accompanied by matching funds from the states.

Together with Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Senator Casey introduced the Starting Early, Starting, Right Act (S.1000) in May 2009 to reverse chronic underfunding of child care and increase the availability of high-quality child care to children in low-income and working class families.

Senator Casey also introduced the Child Care Facilities Financing Act of 2009 (S.1002), which would address the critical importance of a quality physical environment for children, an issue that has often been overlooked in the need to ensure greater access to quality care.

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