The Department of Education has announced that $133 million will be made available in Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge Grants for five states that fell just short of winning the first round of awards.
Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin have been invited to apply for this “second round” of funding, as these states submitted the highest-scoring applications that were not previously funded. Grant awards in this round will be half of the amount states applied for last year.
Early Learning Challenge Grants invest in robust early learning programs for children, particularly low-income children, from birth to age 5. NAESP applauds the administration’s investment in young children and the assistance it’s providing to states to coordinate health and education systems to meet the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive needs of our youngest learners.
The funding for these new awards will come from the $550 million in the Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Education budget for Race to the Top. Remaining money will be used on a district-level Race to the Top competition. Details of this program have not yet been released.
Last December, 9 states—California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington—were awarded the first Early Learning Challenge Grants, totaling over $500 million. See previous NAESP coverage of those awards here.
-By Emily Rohlffs