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Feds Giving Oregon $20 Million For Pre-School Education

Oregon learned Thursday it’s getting more than $20 million from the federal government to improve pre-school education.

Preschoolers working together on a puzzle (file photo).

Preschoolers working together on a puzzle (file photo).

Rob Manning/OPB

The last few years saw the U.S. Department of Education reject Oregon’s attempt to get “Race to the Top” funds for its K-12 system.

The feds also turned down Oregon’s bid for early childhood money last year. But state officials won pre-school money in a second round of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.

Policy analyst for the governor, Duke Shepard, says the money will help train pre-school teachers and will set up a voluntary grading system for preschools.

Rob Manning/OPB

Shepard says right now, it’s hard for Oregon parents to judge preschools.

“But if we’re able to do this, and implement this system, parents will have a real ability to measure quality and understand the right place for their kid.”

Shepard says the funds went to states that are committed to overhauling their education systems.

One Oregon school district — McMinnville — is a finalist in a separate federal competition for school improvement money.

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