Connecticut has applied for the latest round of federal Race to the Top funds, which target early childhood education and could bring the state nearly $40 million.
The application was submitted Oct. 11, the governor’s office said Tuesday. Winners will be announced by the end of the year.
So far, the state has been unsuccessful in winning Race to the Top money. This round, The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, specifically targets early childhood education and would benefit young children with high needs.
Under a formula that takes into account an individual state’s demographics, Connecticut would be eligible for $37.5 million, officials say.
This competition is separate from a Race to the Top contest currently open to school districts. Hartford schools, for example, are seeking the four-year, $25 million grant that would provide a “personal electronic device”– or tablet computer — to every high school student and generally bolster the district’s efforts to engage students and prepare them for college and careers, as reported in September by Courant Staff Writer Vanessa de la Torre.
In announcing the state’s application Tuesday, the office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released the followed statement:
“’Increasing high-quality early childhood learning opportunities for every single child, irrespective of family income or geography, is a key part of improving education in Connecticut,’ said Governor Malloy. ‘Earlier this year, we took a major step toward this goal by creating the Office of Early Childhood, a new agency focused entirely on improving outcomes for young children. This federal grant would help to accelerate our progress along this important path.’ …
“Connecticut’s application outlined three major goals aligned to the work of the Office of Early Childhood that the funding would support. Specifically, it would enable Connecticut to enroll 9,500 high-need children in high-quality early learning and development programs. To further expand access to such programs, 500 programs would be identified for improvements that would result in a higher quality rating. The third objective articulated in the plan is to achieve a 5 percent decrease in the kindergarten readiness gap by 2017.
“In total, sixteen states and the District of Columbia applied for $280 million competitive grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant size varies depending on the proportion of children ages birth through five-years-old from low-income families residing in the state compared to the national population. Based on this formula, Connecticut would be eligible for an award of $37.5 million.”