Early Childhood Program Grants Available A new $500 million state-level grant competition, Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), will fund state programs that take a comprehensive approach to developing integrated, high-quality early learning systems for young children. The goal of the federal program, administered jointly by the Department of Education and the Department of ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   August 01, 2011
Early Childhood Program Grants Available
Author Notes
  • Catherine D. Clarke, director of education and regulatory advocacy, can be reached at cclarke@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5611.
    Catherine D. Clarke, director of education and regulatory advocacy, can be reached at cclarke@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5611.×
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Development / School-Based Settings / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / School Matters
School Matters   |   August 01, 2011
Early Childhood Program Grants Available
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 31. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.16082011.31
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 31. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.16082011.31
A new $500 million state-level grant competition, Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), will fund state programs that take a comprehensive approach to developing integrated, high-quality early learning systems for young children.
The goal of the federal program, administered jointly by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, is to ensure that more children, especially high-need children, enter school ready and able to succeed. The partnership between the two agencies is expected to transform the patchwork of disconnected programs into a coordinated early learning system to improve the health, social, emotional, and educational outcomes for young children from birth to age 5.
According to the Department of Education, research indicates that high-quality early-learning programs lead to long-lasting positive outcomes for children, including increased rates of high school graduation, college attendance, and college completion. Yet, just 40% of 4-year-olds in America are enrolled in preschool programs. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, however, states are reducing some of their key investments in early learning for the first time in a decade.
RTT-ELC awards will go to states that lead the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive early learning education reform. Specific competition requirements, priorities, and selection criteria are still under development. However, consistent with the statute, applicant states will need to take actions 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.

  • Ensure that any use of assessments conforms with the recommendations of the National Research Council’s reports on early childhood.

States applying for challenge grants will be encouraged to increase access to quality early learning programs for low-income and disadvantaged children, design integrated and transparent systems that align early care and education programs, bolster training and support for the early learning workforce, create robust evaluation systems to document and share effective practices and successful programs, and help parents make informed decisions about care for their children.
Guidance, eligibility, range of awards, and number of grants will be announced in coming weeks. The application will be released later this summer with grants awarded to states by Dec. 31.
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August 2011
Volume 16, Issue 8