U.S. education secretary lauds state's early learning programs
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail
U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. visited Piedmont Elementary and the headquarters of the West Virginia Department of Education on Thursday to recognize the state’s early learning system and publicize how the new, overarching federal education law supports early education efforts.
Speaking at an event in the state Board of Education’s meeting room, King said education had played a pivotal role in his life after his parents died when he was a child.
“School was the source of consistency and nurturing and relationships with adults and positivity and hope that allowed me to survive that period of my life and to be here today,” King said. “And so, when we talk about the difference that a quality start makes in kids’ lives, I get it, very deeply and very personally. School can be the thing that saves lives.
“Certainly, I’m inspired by West Virginia’s longstanding commitment to early learning, through five governors, leadership from the Legislature, leadership from the state board, leadership from the education department, leadership from the health and human services community,” King continued. “That, I think, is a model for the country.”
He said the challenges in early learning throughout the country often relate to the struggle to get everyone in a “diverse sector” to collaborate and continue to move forward.