In addition to his May 25 announcement regarding RTTT, Secretary Duncan, along with Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, also announced that the Administration plans to use approximately $500 million of the $700 million made available in the FY2011 appropriations bill for a major competition in support of bold and comprehensive state plans for raising the quality of early learning programs.
This new competition, the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge program, will be jointly administered by the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. The competition will challenge states to take a comprehensive approach to “developing integrated, high-quality early learning systems, which in turn will help ensure that more children, especially high-need children, enter school ready and able to succeed.” While specific competition requirements, priorities, and selection criteria are still under development, states will need to demonstrate how they are taking specific actions to both:
- 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; and
- design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services.
While the Department plans to waive rulemaking on this new program, they are encouraging all interested parties to submit opinions, ideas, suggestions and comments pertaining to the competition to: www.ed.gov/blog/2011/05/rtt-early-learning-challenge.