The White House, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from William Beem’s photostream

Mayor to speak on Pittsburgh’s ongoing efforts to promote early learning opportunities for all

PITTSBURGH, PA (Dec. 10, 2014) Mayor William Peduto will be a featured speaker this morning at President Barack Obama’s White House Summit on Early Education.

“I am honored to be the only Mayor in the country invited to speak about the ongoing work we are doing on Pre-K education in Pittsburgh, and I firmly committed to supporting the President’s agenda,” Mayor Peduto said.

“Pittsburgh is a city that provides opportunities for all, and access to early childhood education is a key building block for a lifetime of success and growth. We still have a long way to go but I am very proud of the work we have done so far, and happy to share that story with the nation.”

The White House invitation follows ongoing work by a Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education the Mayor named this fall, and his role in educational initiatives with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities.

Facing gridlock in Congress, the White House has been partnering with innovative cities to support important policy initiatives. In a meeting with President Obama in December 2013 Mayor Peduto suggested that Pittsburgh could be a model, and urban lab, for studying the positive impacts of early childhood education.

Today’s White House Summit on Early Education is a convening of prominent business leaders, philanthropists, advocates, elected officials and members of the public committed to the expansion of high-quality early education opportunities for children nationwide. In his 2013 State of the Union address the President called on the nation to expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America. Since then, more than 30 states and cities have established new programs or expanded access to preschool.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan selected Pittsburgh for the announcement of a competitive grants competition for early education funding during an August 13, 2014, visit to the Hug Me Tight Childlife Center in the Hill District.

Soon after Mayor Peduto named a 20-member task force on Early Childhood Education Aug. 25 to provide strategic perspective and resources on early childhood education initiatives in the city. It named three co-chairs to focus on policy, practice and politics, chaired respectively by Michelle Figlar, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children; Marge Petruska, Senior Program Director, Heinz Endowments; and Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.

Ms. Figlar and Dr. Curtiss Porter, the city’s Chief Education and Neighborhood Reinvestment Officer, are also attending today’s summit. Mayor Peduto is scheduled to address the summit at 10:55 a.m. and the President is set to deliver his remarks at noon.

The White House is announcing more than $1 billion in collective investment in early education today, including the following preliminary grant awards around Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania:

Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership preliminary award for infants and toddlers for The Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center, Pittsburgh, $1,400,000.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare Harrisburg Pennsylvania, $5,500,000

Delaware County Intermediate Unit, Morton, Pennsylvania, $1,300,000

Greater Erie Community Action Committee, Erie, $800,000

Lawrence County Social Services, Inc., New Castle, $1,100,000

Norris Square Community Alliance Philadelphia, $1,400,000