Friday, May 27, 2011

Obama Administration Announces $500 Million for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Fund

The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced a new $500 million state-level grant competition, Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Fund. The unprecedented $500 million investment represents a significant portion of the $700 million in FY11’s Race to the Top budget allocation and will be administered jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. States applying for challenge grants will be  encouraged to:  
  • Increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children in each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs;
  • Design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services; and
  • Ensure that any use of assessments conforms with the recommendations of the National Research Council’s reports on early childhood.
Although the grants will be awarded directly to states, communities that have experience designing early learning programs may have an opportunity to partner with the state.   This is an opportunity for communities to lift up data on what has been working on the ground and reach out to state partners to begin influencing potential proposals. The application will be released later this summer with grants awarded no later than December 31, 2011.   

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