On Friday, December 16, the Obama Administration announced the winners of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington state will each receive a portion of the $500 million allotted for this grant.
Race to the Top is the Administration’s keystone education initiative which allows states to compete for grant money for innovative programs to make schools more effective. Of the 35 states who applied for these grants to improve their pre-kindergarten educational programs, the nine winners will receive between $50 and $100 million. Budgets will be finalized after discussions between the grantees and the Department, and states will draw down funds in accordance with their plans.
According to one Race to the Top winner, long time CEC Member and Delaware’s Director of Early Development and Learning Resources, Jim Lesko, Delaware has exciting plans for its Race to the Top grant. “A critical focus for our RTTT-ELC grant is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to attend high quality early care and education settings in their communities,” Lesko said. “An important target in Delaware remains our efforts to strengthen our inclusive practices for young children with disabilities ages birth to kindergarten. We worked very closely with the Part C and 619 communities as we crafted the state's vision for young children.
CEC has been tracking the implementation of Race to the Top grants since this program was initiated in 2009. Read CEC’s comments on the initial Race to the Top program here.