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Governor Kitzhaber discusses early childhood education

Governor Kitzhaber discusses early childhood education
September 27, 2011

Oregon's best opportunity for distinction and success in the global economy of the 21st century is creating a world-class education system that starts early and produces results.

Creating a seamless “zero-to-20” pathway for Oregonians is a central, part of my agenda as Governor, and I believe it is critical to the future success and prosperity of our state. 

This terrific new facility is a great example of what we need to be doing with education: integrating our systems and resources between early learning, K-12, community colleges, universities, and the workplace. 

This building would not be here today, if not for significant public and private partnership — from state dollars to Head Start funding and the generosity of individual donors, foundations and employees. I applaud what has been a true community effort. 

The fact that this is the first new building constructed on the Gresham campus of Mount Hood Community College in more than 30 years speaks to your vision and commitment to the entire community. Early childhood investment is the foundational element to achieving Oregon's long-term education and economic objectives.

By investing in this Center, we are helping to break the cycle of poverty for many children and their families in east Multnomah County and beyond. Effective early childhood education is a proven strategy in closing the achievement gap and reducing the dropout rate – a critically important step towards achieving Oregon’s adopted 40/40/20 goals.

By making childcare and other services available to Mt. Hood Community College students it increases the chances of parents remaining in college so they can complete their degree or certificate, go on to a four-year university and/or secure gainful employment. 

The partnership between the college and Head Start is a great example of the kinds of commitments we need across grade levels and institutional boundaries to meet the needs of our state’s children and families. 

I’d like to thank Senator Rod Monroe, who is a veteran of many years in the legislature and a member of the Mount Hood Community College District Board of Education. Rod played a key role in acquiring state funds for the project.

Congratulations to Mt. Hood Community College and your students, faculty, employees, alumni and of course – all the future students who will truly have a head start!

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