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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan strongly supports using federal funds for pre-kindergarten programs, but he hedged on giving tax breaks to parents who choose to stay at home with their children.

National Institute of Early Education Research on pre-K funding for the states says a “stable source of additional federal funding is needed to help offset interstate inequalities in financial capacity to support high quality pre-K.”

Duncan announced that $133 million from the 2012 budget will go to a new Race to The Top Early Learning Challenge that will aid states in funding pre-K education.

Race to the Top is the Obama administration’s education reform program that rewards schools for meeting certain benchmarks established by the Department of Education.

He also said money left over from the previous $550-million Race to The Top program “will go to a new district level competition.”

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