Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge Application Released

Last week, the Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) released the application for the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants for FY 2013. RTT-ELC will provide approximately $280 million in competitive grants to states, with the aim of ensuring that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

Since the program’s inception in 2011, nine states have been awarded grants to improve young children’s access to high-quality early learning and development programs and to close educational gaps for children with high needs. The program also supports states’ efforts to integrate their early learning and development programs and services.

The RTT-ELC competition focuses on five key areas of reform:
  • Establishing Successful State Systems by building on the state's existing strengths, ambitiously moving forward the state's early learning and development agenda and carefully coordinating programs across agencies to ensure consistency and sustainability beyond the grant;
  • Defining High-Quality, Accountable Programs by creating a common tiered quality rating and improvement system that is used across the state to evaluate and improve program performance and to inform families about program quality;
  • Promoting Early Learning and Development Outcomes for Children to develop common standards within the state and assessments that measure child outcomes, address behavioral and health needs, as well as inform, engage and support families;
  • Supporting A Great Early Childhood Education Workforce by providing professional development, career advancement opportunities, appropriate compensation and a common set of standards for workforce knowledge and competencies; and
  • Measuring Outcomes and Progress so that data can be used to inform early learning instruction and services and to assess whether children are entering kindergarten ready to succeed in elementary school.
Applications are due from state governors’ offices on October 16, 2013, and a technical assistance planning workshop will be offered on September 10, 2013. More details on the workshop will be posted here as they become available. Grant awards are expected to be announced in December and, according to ED, will range from $37.5 million up to $75 million.

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