Education Week - January 8, 2014 - (Page 15)

FRESH INFUSION States Split Latest Pot of Early-Learning Aid By Christina A. Samuels The U.S. Department of Education's third round of Race to the Top EarlyLearning Challenge grants now brings to 20 the number of states that have received federal funding to boost their early-learning programs. Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jer- sey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont will split nearly $281 million. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia applied for the funds. "In the real world, outside of the Washington bubble, this has become a nonpartisan issue," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a press call last month announcing the winners. He was joined by Govs. Nathan Deal of Georgia, Rick Snyder of Michigan, and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania-all Republicans-along with Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who are Democrats. GOP Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey did not participate. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, whose state won an Early-Learning Challenge grant in 2011, also took part in the event. Mr. Duncan said that even with the administration's investment in early learning, "the unmet need is staggering and frankly heartbreaking." Supporting State Work State leaders haven't always been so quick to embrace the administration's offers of help. For example, Mr. Deal had been on the record as being distrustful of federal Race to the Top funding when he was a gubernatorial hopeful. "I do not agree with anything that has strings attached," he told the Metro Atlanta Chamber, a business group, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2010. That, however, was before the state won $400 million in Race to the Top funds to change its education system. The earlylearning grant will bring an additional $51.7 million to the state. The money "augments what the state of Georgia is already doing," Gov. Deal said. The federal Education Department has "given us great flexibility in terms of designing the program and making the application, and given us great opportunity in the implementation," he said. The funding "dovetails effortlessly" with early-learning activities already underway in Michigan, said Mr. Snyder, who shared the story of a teacher who told him that two of her students started school not knowing their colors. "They're starting at a huge disadvantage, and that's not right," he said. Mr. Shumlin of Vermont said that the early education push his state has planned could not be accomplished without the federal grant program. "My employers are constantly saying to me, we cannot find enough people trained to do the work that we need to do," he said. "In a state that has aging demographics, I know the answer to our jobs challenge is getting to kids early." All the states have plans to enhance the rating systems that they have for earlychildhood providers. The money also will be used to pay for professional development for early-childhood educators, parent outreach, and collaboration among agencies that work with families and young children. The Education Department has links to each application. In 2011, nine states shared $500 million: California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington. In 2012, five more states split $133 mil- lion: Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. In addition to the third round of the competition, the department also gave six previous winners an additional $89 million overall, because their grant requests had not been fully funded. Kindergarten-Entry Assessments The Education Department has also awarded a total of $15 million, in a smaller grant program, for states to create kindergarten-entry assessments. The tests, which children take soon after starting kindergarten, gauge a child's academic skills, emotional health, and physical well-being and provide early guidance to teachers on getting children on track to meet high academic standards. The winners of that competition, announced in September, included a seven-state consortium led by Maryland, a nine-state group led by North Carolina, and the state of Texas. Six states will share nearly $281 million as part of the third round of the Race to the Top EarlyLearning Challenge competition. MICHIGAN-$51.7 million: Using a portion of its funds to create guides to help parents understand the results of the kindergarten-entry assessments that the state is piloting, with an eye to implementing them statewide by 2015. GEORGIA-$51.7 million: Creating customized early-learning programs for "early education empowerment zones," which are geographic areas with large numbers of high-need children. PENNSYLVANIA-$51.7 million: Revising the state's prekindergarten early-learning standards. KENTUCKY-$44.3 million: Expanding its quality-rating system from a voluntary program to a mandatory system for all of the state's early-learning and -development programs, including private preschools, home-based day care, and Head Start centers. NEW JERSEY-$44.3 million: Increasing the number of early-childhood educators trained in family-engagement strategies. VERMONT-$36.9 million: Expanding professional development for early-childhood workers. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education Do you want to advance your career? Do you want to earn your master's degree online while working and raising your family? You can do it, and we can help! Earn your >> Master of Science in Education Law (M.S.) Online For more information, call 800-541-6682, ext. 26161, or visit The Law Center admits students of any race, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, nondisqualifying disability, marital status, religion or creed, or national or ethnic origin. Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad Law Center is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610-4714, Telephone number: 312-988-6738). 04-050-13NOM EDUCATION WEEK | January 8, 2014 | | 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 8, 2014

Education Week - January 8, 2014
State Legislators Fire Up Engines
Inspections Piloted for Teacher Prep
Student Views Shifting on Risks Of Marijuana
L.A. School Bridges Home-School Gap
InBloom Sputters as Data Privacy Hits the Spotlight
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Fariña to Lead N.Y.C. Public Schools
Judge Censures District’s Use of ‘Hess Report’
Los Angeles, D.C. Outshine Urban Peers in NAEP Gains
Blogs of the Week
Cloud Computing Expands, Raising Data-Privacy Concerns
Congressional Appropriators Turn To K-12 Spending Details
Rural Districts Win Big in Race To Top Awards
States Split Latest Pot of Early-Learning Aid
Blogs of the Week
ERIC A. HANUSHEK: Why the U.S. Results on PISA Matter
ROBERT WEINTRAUB & DAVID WEINTRAUB: Why Arne Duncan’s PISA Comments Miss the Mark
JACK DALE: Learning From a Test
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
PETER W. COOKSON JR.: Looking for Equity on the Yellow School Bus

Education Week - January 8, 2014