STATE TO PURSUE EARLY LEARNING GRANT COMPEITION
Newest “Race to the Top” Program Aims to Support Programs for Young Children
News Release from www.Hawaii.gov/gov
Honolulu – Governor Neil Abercrombie last week alerted the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services that the State of Hawai'i will be applying for the new ”Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge” grant competition.
States planning to apply for the new federal funding opportunity by the Obama Administration were asked to submit their notice of intent by July 15, 2011. Applications for the grant competition will be available later this summer, and grantees will be selected by the end of the calendar year.
Governor Abercrombie has made early childhood a top priority of his administration. The Governor’s Early Childhood Coordinator, Terry Lock, who started her new position on July 11, will take the lead on putting together the application for the Early Learning Challenge. Hawai'i may apply for up to $50 million, a cap based on Hawai'i’s share of the national population of children from birth to five years old from low-income families.
“We are investing in our young children so that their current and future wellbeing is not an afterthought,” said Governor Abercrombie. “The pursuit of this opportunity will pull everyone together to focus on a common goal. The competition for this funding will be fierce, but our Administration is committed to working with the community to make permanent changes that will improve the lives of our keiki.”
The Early Learning Challenge grant competition will support states' efforts 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;
- Address the health, behavioral, and developmental needs of high-need children to improve school readiness; and
- Ensure that any use of assessments conforms to the recommendations of the National Research Council's reports on early childhood.
Hawai'i’s application for the Early Learning Challenge will be aligned with the state’s K-12 “Race to the Top” grant award and will build on strategies first articulated in the “Framework for a Comprehensive Early Childhood System,” written by the Hawai'i Early Learning Council in December 2010. The Early Learning Council was created by the Legislature in 2008 to develop and administer Hawai'i’s early learning system. Key elements of the framework are early education and health services, parent education and family support, and workforce and professional development.
“The Early Learning Council’s framework represents the collective vision of hundreds of people across our state—but to make this happen we are in desperate need of public and private investments,” said Dr. Robert Peters, Chair of the Early Learning Council. “The members of the Early Learning Council are committed to working with Governor Abercrombie to build capacity and improve high quality early learning for all young children with a focus on those most at risk.”
Awards in the Early Learning Challenge will go to states that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive early learning education reform.