Obama announces $1 billion for pre-K

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — President Obama announced $1 billion in funding for pre-K Wednesday, coming from a mix of federal grants and private donations.

The spending package is expected to add an additional 60,000 seats in pre-K classrooms nationwide.

Bill Budusky, a pre-K teacher at Hunter Elementary in Greensboro, said this is recognition that President Obama understands the importance of early learning.

“This is not a daycare,” he said. “This is an educational setting. And a lot of the kindergarten and first grade and upper teachers say, ‘Oh we can really tell the difference. This is a pre-K child.'”

Budusky said pre-Kindergarten helps instill valuable learning skills, socialization and in some cases language skills for children.

Budusky said the new funding from President Obama will help schools like his, who currently have a far higher demand for pre-K seats than there are spots available.

“There’s 54 pre-K students served here at Hunter Elementary,” he said. “And there are students on the waiting list, waiting for those spots to open.”

A pre-K parent at Hunter Elementary, Tasia Duff, said she has seen huge behavioral and intellectual improvements in her twin girls since enrolling them in pre-K.

“They’re a lot more outgoing,” she said. “And they don’t depend on each other as much. They’re learning how to write, they know all the alphabet, the sounds… They’re really picking things up at an exponential rate.”

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