White House praises New York’s pre-k deal

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NEW YORK (AP) - The White House is praising New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for establishing universal pre-kindergarten.

In a statement released Wednesday, President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney called the new program “a major victory on early childhood education.”

Universal pre-kindergarten was the centerpiece of de Blasio’s mayoral campaign last year.

He advocated funding it by raising taxes on the wealthy. That idea was defeated in Albany by Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, and the state Legislature.

Instead, the program will be funded with state money. $300 million was allocated to New York City when the budget was signed earlier this week.

De Blasio says 53,000 new students will attend full-day pre-kindergarten this fall. That number will grow to more than 70,000 the following September.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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