California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington state will share $500 million in grant money won in the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant competition, the Obama administration announced Friday.
In addition to the $500 million awarded to Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grantees, seven states—Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—have applied for a share of the $200 million to invest in K-12 education reform. Awards will be announced later in December.
"Education must be our national mission," said President Barack Obama. "All of us must work to give all our children the best education possible. And today, we're acting to strengthen early childhood education to better prepare our youngest children for success in school and in life"
Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement of state grantees on Friday, December 16, at a White House event with over 100 early learning and development experts, educators, policymakers, and researchers. Rich Long, the International Reading Association’s Director of Government Relations, attended the meeting at the White House on December 16. Read his comments on the IRA advocacy webpage.
"In a matter of months, early education and child development experts throughout the country, together with state and local leaders, worked to build comprehensive plans for expanding access to high-quality early learning," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "All applicants showed tremendous dedication and drive to build stronger foundations and create greater opportunities for more children. Their work will help lead the way in ensuring excellent early learning and support for every child."
"A strong educational system is critical not just for our children but also for our nation's economic future," said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. "The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge takes a holistic approach to early education, promotes innovation, and focuses on what it takes to help put young children on the path of learning, opportunity, and success."
Studies show that children who attend quality early education programs do better in school, are less likely to spend time in prison later, and to make more money as adults. But children from low-income families who start kindergarten without any schooling are estimated to start school 18 months behind their peers, a gap that is extremely difficult to overcome.
The U. S. Education Department website has the winning states’ applications. For more information about the program, visit http://www.ed.gov.
State Waiver Applications on CEP Website
Legislative Hot Topic from the International Reading Association Government Relations Department
Literacy Advocacy Legislative Workshops and Webinars