U.S. Department of Education Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning Jacqueline Jones will deliver the keynote address at the Leadership Connections Conference, organized by McCormick, on Thursday, May 17 at the Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Ill. Jones will discuss the federal support for high-quality state systems of early learning through the Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge grants and state approaches for improving outcomes for young children.
In 2011, 35 States, D.C. and Puerto Rico applied to Race for the Top-Early Learning Challenge, creating plans that increase access to high-quality programs for children from low-income families, and provide more children from birth to age 5 with a strong foundation needed to succeed in school and beyond. In December 2011, nine states were awarded grants—California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.
In April, 2012 The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that $133 million from the 2012 Race to the Top fund will be available for continued investments in state-level, comprehensive early education reform. The Departments intend to fund down the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 slate and the next 5 applicants—Wisconsin, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico and Oregon—have been invited to apply. Wisconsin will be eligible to apply for up to 50 percent of the requested award amount in last year's application and the 2012 application will be available in late summer.