Early Learning Challenge Collaborative
Final Application Released for RTT-ELC Round 3
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have announced that 16 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications for the 2013 Round of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. Applicants included Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
This new round will provide approximately $280 million in state-level competitive grants to improve early learning and development programs. The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services will announce the winners in December 2013.
Maintaining the Initial Focus
The competitive RTT-ELC program was launched in 2011 to help states improve early learning and development programs by:
- Coordinating existing programs
- Evaluating and rating program quality
- Increasing access to high-quality programs, particularly for children with high needs
The program has awarded more than $750 million dollars to 14 states in the first two funding rounds.
For Round 3, the program will maintain the initial overall purpose and structure. Priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria are, in large part, identical to those of Rounds 1 and 2, with a continued focus on five key areas of reform:
- Establishing successful state systems − by building on the state′s existing strengths, ambitiously moving forward the state′s early learning and development agenda, and carefully coordinating programs across agencies to ensure consistency and sustainability beyond the grant.
- Defining high-quality, accountable programs − by creating a common tiered quality rating and improvement system that is used across the state to evaluate and improve program performance and to inform families about program quality.
- Promoting early learning and development outcomes for children − to develop common standards within the state and assessments that measure child outcomes, address behavioral and health needs, as well as inform, engage and support families.
- Supporting a great early childhood education workforce − by providing professional development, career advancement opportunities, appropriate compensation, and a common set of standards for workforce knowledge and competencies.
- Measuring outcomes and progress − so that data can be used to inform early learning instruction and services and to assess whether children are entering kindergarten ready to succeed in elementary school.
An Additional Priority
In addition to some language changes, some amended lists, and a request for data on the participation of children to be disaggregated by race and ethnicity, the current competition has added a new priority. States will be allowed to describe strategies for addressing the unique needs of their rural populations.
Grant awards will range from $37.5 million up to $75 million, depending on state population and proposed plans.
- Get a copy of the RTT-ELC Overview and Application Template.
- Find resources that we are compiling weekly to support your application process.
- View the application and learn more.
- Check out Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants, a publication by ED and HHS.
- Access the first Annual Performance Reports from Round 1 grant states for lessons learned.
- View topical 2013 webinars held to support states applying for the RTT-ELC.
- Read A Step toward Dr. King’s Dream by BUILD Initiative Deputy Director Susan Hibbard, a blog post on the BUILD website about the release of Round 3 on the 50th anniversary on the March on Washington.
First year funding − $500 million − attracted 37 applicants. The nine states receiving the highest scores − California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. − were selected. With more modest 2012 funding, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin, the next five highest-scoring applicants, were asked to modify their 2011 applications and create plans that could be funded with up to 50 percent of the award amount originally requested. RTT-ELC grants are awarded over a four-year period in accordance with each state's plan.
The grants provide a significant boost for states, especially in tough economic times. With the federal support, the 14 recipients are building bold, comprehensive early learning programs and services around a tiered quality rating and improvement system. The RTT-ELC is also enabling the 14 states to continue the work of the public/private partnerships that have been critical to the development of the early learning systems building movement. This decade-old movement laid the groundwork and created the frame from which the federal program developed.
ELCC Support for State Application
The Early Learning Challenge Collaborative worked intensively with nearly three-quarters of the states submitting applictions in Round 3 and provided some level of support to others – as we had in previous rounds of the RTT-ELC competition. And, of course, we help states that have recieved grants make the most of this opportunity through tailored technical assistance, topical consortia, webinars, and other learning community activities.