White House cheers universal pre-K in NYC

The Obama administration on Wednesday applauded a state deal funding universal pre-K in New York City — the signature policy proposal of newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio.

White House press secretary Jay Carney called the deal "remarkable" and said lawmakers had "delivered a major victory on early childhood education for middle class families and those working to get into the middle class."

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Some 53,000 schoolchildren will benefit immediately from the deal, according to de Blasio. That number is expected to grow to 73,000 next year.

President Obama has repeatedly called for Congress to fund universal pre-K nationwide, although the proposal had garnered little traction in Congress. The plan is included in the latest version of the president's budget.

"Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education," Obama said in the State of the Union address earlier this year. "Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every 4-year-old. And as a parent as well as a president, I repeat that request tonight."

The president has also said that he will work outside of Congress, putting together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists to help fund early education for more students.

"President Obama will continue to call on Congress to enact his plan to partner with states and cities to provide high-quality preschool for every child, and encourage states and cities to take action so children have the chance to enter kindergarten ready for success," Carney said.

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