Six States Awarded Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) Grants

Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont will each receive a share of the 2013 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge $280 million grant fund to improve quality and expand access to early learning programs throughout their states. The six winners join fourteen existing state grantees. Twenty states will now have additional federal resources to support their reform agenda for early childhood education.

"We continue to work on efforts that will provide every child the opportunity for a high-quality early childhood development program," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Early Childhood Linda K. Smith. "Thanks to the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and their ability to work with governors, state officials, and early education advocates across the now 20 Early Learning Challenge states, thousands more of our youngest children will receive a stronger foundation needed to succeed in school and in life."

The Race to Top-Early Learning Challenge program was first launched in 2011 as a program jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

"The Obama administration has consistently been raising the bar for quality in early education programs," said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. "Providing a strong foundation for all children to learn through life is an investment in our nation's economic future."

Through this competition, the Obama Administration called on states to create proposals to improve early learning by coordinating existing programs, evaluating and rating program quality, and increasing access to high-quality programs, particularly for children with high needs.

First year funding attracted 37 applicants and collectively awarded $500 million to nine states: California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington. With more modest 2012 funding, the second round invited the next five highest-scoring applicants—Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin—to modify their 2011 applications and create plans. These states were funded in 2012.

Today, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced the following awards to six states: Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

Grants will be awarded over a 4-year period effective January 1, 2014 in accordance with each state's plan.