Race To The Top -- Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) Program
Grant: Race To The Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) Program
Agency: U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Deadline: Optional Notice of Intent to Apply due September 30, 2013. Applications due October 16, 2013.
Description: The purpose of the Race To The Top -- Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) program is to improve the quality of early learning and development and close the achievement gap for children with high needs. The RTT-ELC program focuses on improving early learning and development programs for young children by supporting states' efforts to:
- Increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs.
- Design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services.
At its core, RTT-ELC demonstrates a strong commitment by the Administration to stimulate a national effort to make sure all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed. The RTT-ELC competition does not create new early learning and development programs, nor is it a vehicle for maintenance of the status quo. Rather, the RTT-ELC program will support states that demonstrate their commitment to integrating and aligning resources and policies across all of the state agencies that administer public funds related to early learning and development. It will further provide incentives to the states that commit to and implement high-quality early learning and development programs statewide.
RTT-ELC is organized around five key areas of reform:
- Successful state systems.
- High-quality, accountable programs.
- Promoting early learning and development outcomes for children.
- A great early childhood education workforce.
- Measuring outcomes and progress.
The 2013 competition has one Absolute Priority, four competitive preference priorities, and one invitational priority.
Absolute Priority 1: Promoting School Readiness for Children with High Needs. To meet this priority, the application must comprehensively and coherently address how the state will build a system that increases the quality of Early Learning and Development Programs for Children with High Needs so that they enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
Competitive Preference Priority 2: Including All Early Learning and Development Programs in the Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System. This priority is designed to increase the number of children from birth to kindergarten entry who are participating in programs that are governed by the state's licensing system and quality standards. Applicants can receive up to an additional 10 points for meeting this priority.
Competitive Preference Priority 3: Understanding the Status of Children's Learning and Development at Kindergarten Entry. Applicants can receive up to an additional 10 points for meeting this priority.
Competitive Preference Priority 4: Creating Preschool through Third Grade Approaches to Sustain Improved Early Learning Outcomes through the Early Elementary Grades. Applicants will meet this priority based on the extent to which they describe a High-Quality Plan to improve the overall quality, alignment, and continuity of teaching and learning to serve children from preschool through third grade. Up to an additional 10 points will be awarded for meeting this priority.
Competitive Preference Priority 5: Addressing the Needs of Children in Rural Areas. Applicants will meet this priority, and receive up to an additional five points, based on the extent to which they describe how it will address the unique needs of children in rural areas.
Invitational Priority 6: Encouraging Private-Sector Support. Applicants will meet this priority based on the extent to which it describes how the private sector will provide financial and other resources to support the state.
Fit for public broadcasting: Although stations are not eligible to apply directly to this program, public media partners will be very valuable to state applicants. Statutory regulations require this program to target and support low-income and disadvantaged children who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs. Public broadcasters have a proven track record of helping the most disadvantaged students succeed by intervening before kindergarten, and their programs can greatly benefit states that are implementing far-reaching early learning reforms.
Families and communities are an important part of the success of this program, and public media stations can help states engage parents in their child's learning while also providing community-wide outreach and awareness-raising through broadcast and internet content.
Creating a great early childhood workforce is also an important aspect of the goal of this program. Public broadcasting stations with experience in professional development and teacher training will be able to provide expertise to states that need to train early childhood educators. Public media stations already provide critical resources to teachers and caregivers to enhance children's learning, and this will make them valuable assets to states that are applying to the RTT-ELC program.
Public broadcasters can be very beneficial partners to states applying for these grants. Be sure to be in contact with the agencies in your state that are responsible for early childhood education programs.
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are states that have not previously received an RTT-ELC grant.
Anticipated funding: An estimated $280 million is available for this competition. Awards will range from $37.5 million to $75 million. There are four categories of funding -- up to $75 million, up to $52.5 million, up to $45 million, and up to $37.5 million. States are divided into categories, as outlined in the Program Notice, and can only submit a budget that corresponds to their category's funding cap.
How to apply: Application packages can be obtained online. Applications must be submitted by mail or hand delivery. Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to notify the Departments of their intent to apply by email.
To assist states in preparing the application and to respond to questions, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services will host a Webinar for potential applicants on September 4, 2013, and a Technical Assistance Planning Workshop on September 10, 2013.