The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced they will invest the majority of the 2013 Race to the Top funds for a second Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition. About $370 million will be available this year for states to develop new approaches to increase high-quality early learning opportunities and close the school readiness gap. This announcement mirrors the emphasis the Administration placed on this issue in its FY2014 Budget proposal and supports its intention to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for all children, especially those in disadvantaged communities.
"Expanding access to high-quality early learning opportunities is simply one of the best investments we can make in our country, and these funds can help states develop and strengthen programs that serve America's youngest learners," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Getting our children off to a strong start not only increases their individual chances for lifelong success, it helps create the conditions for a thriving middle class that will forge the path into a bright future for our entire country."
The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge is part of the Obama Administration's comprehensive early learning agenda. The program is jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the two agencies are continuing to work closely together on new initiatives to expand and improve services for children from birth through age 5.
Last week, President Obama detailed his FY 2014 budget proposal, which would invest $75 billion over 10 years in fully offset funding to create new partnerships with states and provide high-quality preschool to more communities, helping ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn. Read CEC’s analysis of President Obama’s budget proposal and our thoughts on the Early Learning Challenge Grants. Finally, want to know more? Read specifics about the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge.