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Hawaii Creates State Early Learning Coordinator

On June 9, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed a longtime early-childhood educator, Terry Lock, to the newly created position of state early childhood coordinator, taking what he described as the "big first step" toward creating a universal preschool system. Lock will start her new position in mid-July.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Lock's position will be partly funded by a $300,000 W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant over the next two years. The grant will also support Tammi Chun, the governor's education adviser.

Hawaii is one of 10 states without any state-funded preschool program. Interestingly, some Hawaii lawmakers are pushing to scrap the state's junior kindergarten program for late-born children and use the money for pre-K. Lawmakers have criticized the program because it was never fully implemented.

Lock said the entire issue should be revisited. She said she supports keeping junior kindergarten but "doing it right."

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