It’s a big day in the early childhood world: The funding for a Race to the Top competition in early childhood programs was announced yesterday. Here’s an excerpt from the release:
The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge will reward states that create comprehensive plans to transform early learning systems with better coordination, clearer learning standards, and meaningful workforce development. Secretary Duncan and Secretary Sebelius also challenged the broader innovation community – leading researchers, high-tech entrepreneurs, foundations, non-profits and others – to engage with the early learning community and to close the school readiness gap.
States applying for challenge grants will be encouraged to increase access to quality early learning programs for low income and disadvantaged children, design integrated and transparent systems that align their early care and education programs, bolster training and support for the early learning workforce, create robust evaluation systems to document and share effective practices and successful programs, and help parents make informed decisions about care for their children.
And quotes from the secretaries:
“To win the future, our children need a strong start,” said Secretary Duncan. “The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge encourages states to develop bold and comprehensive plans for raising the quality of early learning programs across America.”
“This Challenge represents the Obama Administration’s commitment to helping vulnerable children and families reach their full potential,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Our collective health and financial security as a nation will depend on high quality investments during the critical early years of a child’s life.”