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Mayor Peduto announces early childhood education panel [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette :: ]
[August 25, 2014]

Mayor Peduto announces early childhood education panel [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette :: ]

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 25--Mayor Bill Peduto today named a "Mayor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education" to try to help secure a federal grant for preschool education.

Earlier this month, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced a $250 million Preschool Development Grants Competition on the day he visited the Hill District. He said that Pennsylvania could compete for up to $20 million for a year, potentially renewable to cover four years.

In a news release, Mr. Peduto said, "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." Also in the news release, Dr. Curtiss Porter, the city's chief education and neighborhood reinvestment officer, said, "The city will be characterized by its commitment to high quality early education. Citizens of Pittsburgh will be definitively energized by educational opportunities that expand at every age." The panel, which was formed by executive order, has three co-chairs, each of whom chairs a subcommittee: city Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, politics; Michelle Figlar, executive director, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, policy; and Marge Petruska, senior program director, Heinz Endowments, partnerships.

Other members include Linda Lane, superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools; Bill Isler, president, Family Communications and a member of the Pittsburgh school board; Carol Barone-Martin, executive director, early childhood education, Pittsburgh Public Schools; Patrick Dowd, executive director, Allies for Children; and Carey Harris, Executive Director, A+ Schools.

Also named were Barb Minzenberg, deputy secretary, state Department of Education; Dennis Yablonsky, CEO, Allegheny Conference on Community Development; and Sarah Toulouse, head of corporate social responsibility, Bayer Corp., and executive director Bayer Foundation USA.

The list includes Gregg Behr, executive director, Grable Foundation; Jim Denova, vice president, Benedum Foundation; U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills; State Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler; state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill and Dennis Davin, director of economic development, Allegheny County.

Others include Barbara Willard, director of Southwest Regional Key; Debbie Gallagher, Early Head Start director, Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center; and Shimira Williams, Tek Start.

The preschool grants are being administered by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. Applications are due Oct. 14, with awards to be announced in December.

Earlier this year, the mayor named an education task force to study Pittsburgh Public Schools. That group had four scheduled meetings, but has canceled some. Its deadline for making recommendations was extended.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: or 412-263-1955.

___ (c)2014 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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