CEC has reinforced recommendations made by its Division for Early Childhood to the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in response to a new $500 million Race to the Top competition focusing on early learning, unveiled this May.
CEC was pleased that children with disabilities and the systems that support them were included in many provisions of the draft Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTTT-ELC) proposal. This inclusion reinforces the need for systems serving young children to become better coordinated. Read full response here - Download CEC Race to the Top Letter
However, while there are many provisions CEC supported in the proposal, CEC is concerned with language used to describe how state will “reallocate or repurpose” existing funds to support this program. As CEC members know first-hand, resources supporting young children with disabilities are becoming increasingly sparse and often have statutory limitations on how funds can be used. For these reasons, states applying for RTT-ELC grants should be asked to address how all funds will be used to support the overall goal of the program.
Moving at a quick pace, the Administration has stated that state applications will be available by the end of the summer with grants expected to be awarded by the end of the year.
The Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Program is a new initiative of the Obama Administration which seeks to “support breakthrough work that dramatically improves the quality of early learning and development programs serving high-need children,” stated a release from the Department.
This competition will focus on key reform areas outlined by the Department:
- Aligning early childhood resources and systems;
- Improving early learning and development standards and assessment;
- Improving program standards, tiered rating and improvement systems;
- Developing and supporting a great early childhood education.
CEC greatly appreciates the leadership of its Division on Early Childhood whose knowledge and expertise led CEC’s response. Be sure to visit DEC’s website for more information!
Read CEC’s response. Download CEC Race to the Top Letter