Investing Early: One of the Smartest Things We Can Do

Race to the Top-Early Learning Announcement

Official Department of Education Photo by Joshua Hoover

“This is an important moment in our effort to build a world-class education system in America,” Secretary Duncan said this morning at a White House event to announce the winners of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC). Duncan joined HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes in announcing the nine states that had won.

“Everyone who works in education can agree that investing in early learning is one of the smartest things we can do,” Duncan said. “Whether it’s elementary school teachers or prize-winning economists, they recognize that high-quality early learning programs pay dividends down the road.”

Thirty-five states, D.C. and Puerto Rico submitted plans for the Challenge, and today’s event announced the nine winners: California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.

White House Event

Official Department of Education Photo by Joshua Hoover

“We believe progress like this won’t be limited to the nine states awarded funds today,” Secretary Sebelius said. “By pushing everyone to raise their game, we intend to foster innovation in early childhood programs around the country. And I look forward to following their progress in the months and years ahead.”

The RTT-ELC will support these states in developing new approaches to raising the bar across early learning centers and to close the school readiness gap. Awards will invest in grantees’ work to build statewide systems of high-quality early learning and development programs. These investments will impact all early learning programs, including Head Start, public pre-K, childcare, and private preschools.

Click here to read today’s press release, and visit ED’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge website.

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7 Comments

  1. Hello everyone! I am a student in early child and adult education along with paraprofessional. I am inquiring about public and private advocacy in early childhood education. How improtant is advocacy in each sector of early childhood education. And would it be less of an issue in the private sector of education? I have been trying to get other views on advocacy. I thought what better way than to blog on this issue than U.S Department of education with professional teachers.

  2. Yes, investing early in education makes sense. Kids that are born into privileged homes would be significantly better off. Engaging parents would be a key step. Whether it is through initiatives like Dads Do Good or others, we need to have engaged parents in the equation.

  3. Congratulations to forward thinkers in California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington!

    I would encourage you along with The RTT-ELC to look to the philosophies of Maria Montessori, Rudolph Steiner, and Reggio Emilia as you continue to develop new approaches to raising the bar across early learning centers and to close the school readiness gap. Their work as already been done for us!

    We look to you to build statewide systems of high-quality early learning and development programs from which we all can learn in order to better all early learning programs, including Head Start, public pre-K, childcare, and private preschools.

  4. “Everyone who works in education can agree that investing in early learning is one of the smartest things we can do,”

    Then why isn’t full day kindergarten (or kindergarten in general) mandatory across the entire United States yet?
    Why is full-day kindergarten allowed to be slashed due to budget cuts? Tell the states that kindergarten is not a commodity…it’s the foundation for all children’s learning.
    Make states accountable by investing in full-day kindergarten.

    • Although there are good reasons for Michigan to accept the challenge of full day kindergarten, I think that the fact that many children who enter kindergarten may not be ready for full day studies, if in fact they receive a curriculumn beyond lunch, some crafts and recreation. I am a resident in Macomb County, Mi. I understand that many working moms may find full day more convenient and cheaper then day care but I disagree because there are both non working and working parents who do not want to see their children going to school at that age for 7-1/2 hours per day. This is really the childs last change to enjoy childhood. I do not understand why our society is so eager to make children grow up before their time. When parents place children in day care whether it with a family member or a day care center, they can learn more working one-on-one then they will learn in kindergarten.
      I think taking the choice away from children going half time to kidnergarten is just another means of taking away our freedom and freedom of choice. Who makes these decisions? I’ve talked with no less then 30 parents both stay-at-home and working and not one has thought going to full day kindergarten is a benefit for their child.

  5. So what do I do when my 15 learning disabled son, said to be of average intelligence by his psychologist, can’t read and, rather than trying to access his learning style and teach him to read, the SPED director justifies herself by telling me he “may never be a reader”?

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