In the wake of Minnesota pouring cash into early childhood education, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit the state to talk about President Obama's plan to pump cash into programs for the smallest learners.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan during a Kentucky visit in June

Education Secretary Arne Duncan during a Kentucky visit in June

Duncan, who is hosting events across the country to promote Obama's early learning proposal, will visit Bloomington's Pond Early Childhood Family Center in the early morning on Tuesday and meet with a host of Minnesotans working on early education initiatives at Bloomington's Kennedy High School for a town hall event.

The participants in the town hall event include: Gov. Mark Dayton, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Adjutant General, Minnesota National Guard Richard C. Nash, Executive Director of the Minnesota Council of Churches Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President of Target Community Relations and Target Foundation Laysha Ward and Co-Director for the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the University of Minnesota Art Rolnick.

Duncan will also speak to the National Network of State Teachers of the Year conference at noon in Minneapolis.

The education secretary visited Minnesota in January of last year to talk about college readiness and spoke to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce the year before. During that 201 Chamber visit, he challenged Minnesota to do better at closings it’s achievement gap. “There are lots of states that have made more progress,” he said at the time.

In the spring of 2011, he praised Minnesota for enacting alternative teacher licensure. Alternative licensure and particularly Teach for America, which Duncan singled out for praise, remain a highly contentious issue in the state.

Minnesota’s Education Commissioner Cassellius and Duncan were superintendents of big city schools at the same time and have long traveled in the same education circles.