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Six States Selected For Early Learning 'Policy Academy'

The National Governors Association is bringing together representatives from six states—Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada and Pennsylvania—for a 'policy academy' that will allow them to work together on improving their preschool-through-3rd grade programs.

The 15-month academy will include cross-state meetings with experts, site visits, technical assistance and regular communication among the states, said Albert Wat, a senior policy analyst with the NGA, focusing on early childhood education. States apply to be a part of the academy, and the NGA specifically selected states at different levels of developing an aligned early-childhood program, he said.

For example, Massachusetts and Illinois are states that won Early Learning Challenge grants from the Department of Education. In contrast, Hawaii is in the early stages of developing a state-funded preschool program, with a 3,500-student program slated to launch in the 2014-15 school year.

The policy academy will be focused on two main priorities: improving educator effectiveness, and aligning assessment programs in kindergarten through third grade. Though each state has chosen an area of focus, the academy will offer opportunities for broader dialogue, Wat said.

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