Gov. Dannel P. Malloy received accolades from Vice President Joe Biden last month for the education the state provides its youngest students.

“Connecticut’s success with early childhood education is a real model for the rest of the Country. As you well know, early childhood education is critical to America’s future,” Biden wrote the governor after his meeting with him in Washington, D.C.

Malloy has routinely said he supports universal access for children into quality preschool programs, and that family income should not deter enrollment. This school year, the state funded 1,000 new seats in preschools across the state and is working to launch a quality-rating system for childcare centers. Also, the governor this year is asking the legislature to create a new state agency to cordinate and improve all things early childhood.

Almost 6,500 students — or 20 percent — showed up for kindergarten in the fall of 2011 having spent no time in a preschool. The state’s 19 poorest districts typcially had lower participation rates in early education than their neighbors, reports the State Department of Education. The education department has estimated that it would cost the state $43.8 million a year for the state to offer universal preschool in the state’s poorest districts and millions more in one-time-costs to build the facilities.

Read Biden’s letter here:

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