Yesterday, the administration released the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Fund (RTT-ELCF) grant application. States can now compete for $50-$100 million grants to implement plans for ensuring children aged 0-5, particularly low-income children, are school ready. A total of $500 million is avialable and states must focus on 5 reform areas: (1) Establishing successful state systems of early learning; (2) Defining high-quality, accountable early learning programs; (3) Promoting early learning and development outcomes for children; (4) Supporting a great early childhood education workforce; and (5) Measuring outcomes and progress to determine whether kindergartners are entering elementary school ready to succeed.
Earlier this summer, the administration had requested public feedback on the grant application and process. On September 1, 2011, the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services will host a webinar orientation to the application for states planning to apply for the grants. A Technical Assistance Planning Workshop for potential applicants is also planned for September 13, 2011 in Washington, DC and via video teleconference with the Departments’ regional offices across the country. The deadline for submitting applications is October 19, 2011.