Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Oregon and Wisconsin were all awarded grants under the Race to the Top: Early Learning Challenge grant program which will split $133 million among the winning states who demonstrated innovative plans to improve quality and expand access to early learning programs in their states. These five states join the nine winners from the first round of applications last year.
The Early Learning Challenge grant fund is focused on improving and providing support to state programs that improve access to early learning and development for young children by increasing the percentage of young children from disadvantaged backgrounds in high quality early learning programs and implement high quality systems of education for infants, toddlers and preschool aged children.
In the first year of the program grants were awarded to California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington in 2011. The U.S. Department of Education, with more modest funding opportunities for 2012, invited the next five highest scoring applicants to revise their plans to allow for up to 50% of original funding.
CEC continues to monitor the Race to the Top program and the efforts made in states across the country to improve quality and accessibility in early learning. For more information on the Early Learning Challenge grants, please click here.