Funding, Grants & Awards | News

6 States To Share $280 Million in Latest Race to the Top Awards

The United States Department of Education has chosen six states to receive Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants in the third round of funding for the initiative.

The states, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont, join 14 others as RTT-ELC grant recipients and will share in $280 million in funding disbursed over 4 years. The money will be distributed among the winners according to their proposed plans and the number of children younger than six from low-income families. The awards range from $36.9 million to Vermont to $51.7 million to Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

In Michigan, plans for the money include building "an early learning data system that provides anonymous and aggregated information on children across departments and programs and allows us to assess programs' value to parents and children," among other uses, according to an overview of the state's grant proposal.

All states in this round will be implementing kindergarten entry assessments and "tiered quality rating and improvement systems to promote school readiness" as those were "absolute" priorities for grant proposals in this round.

"By investing in high-quality early learning through programs like Race to the Top-Early learning Challenge, we are able to close achievement gaps, provide life-transforming opportunities for children and strengthen and build a thriving middle class," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a prepared statement. "Thanks to the leadership of governors, state officials and education advocates, these states have created plans to develop high-quality early learning systems that improve the quality of learning to provide our youngest citizens with the strong foundation they need for success in school and beyond. This investment is a down payment to support and implement high-quality early learning programs across the country. There is still a lot more work for us to do."

Previous RTT-ELC winners include California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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