Learning from Play With A Purpose, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Cornell University Sustainable Design’s photostream

PITTSBURGH, PA (Aug. 25, 2014) – Mayor William Peduto today named a Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education to help the city seek funding for a preschool development grant program the White House announced in the Hill District earlier this month.

The panel’s charge is to increase the likelihood of a successful grant application in the Preschool Development Grants Competition, and to provide strategic perspective and resources on early childhood education initiatives. Pennsylvania could receive up to $20 million in funding.

“Pittsburgh must keep developing as a city of learning — a city committed to exemplary education of its citizens from birth to career and from career to lifelong learning — and providing early childhood education is essential to that development,” Mayor Peduto said.

“The city will be characterized by its commitment to high quality early education,” said Dr. Curtiss Porter, the city’s Chief Education & Neighborhood Reinvestment Officer. “Citizens of Pittsburgh will be definitively energized by educational opportunities that expand at every age.”

An executive order creating the 20-member panel and listing its membership is attached.

The panel is designed to have broad, cross-sector impact in the many arenas in which education is a cornerstone, but especially in terms of policy, practice, and politics. The order names three co-chairs to focus on those three measures in advancing the city’s case for new education funding.

In a meeting with President Barack Obama in December Mayor Peduto directly suggested that Pittsburgh can and should be a model for the positive impact of education in the early childhood setting. With little room for cooperation with Congress, the White House has lately sought to partner with innovative cities to create universal early childhood education.

Additionally U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan selected Pittsburgh for the announcement of the grants competition during his August 13, 2014, visit to the Hug Me Tight Childlife Center in the Hill District.