09/21/2009 - Tucked away in an $87 billion higher education bill that passed the House last week was a broad new federal initiative aimed not at benefiting college students, but at raising quality in the early learning and care programs that serve children from birth through age 5.
The Department of Education is already administering a separate $4.3 billion competition among states to reward and encourage improvements to elementary and secondary schools. In August, scores of early learning groups and advocates wrote letters to the department criticizing proposed rules for that competition, known as Race to the Top, as largely ignoring early childhood education.
“We don’t see how our country can race to the top when all kids are not at the same starting line” when they reach kindergarten, said Marcy Young, project director for the Pre-K Now program at the Pew Center on the States, one group that criticized the rules.
To read the full article, "Initiative Focuses on Early Learning Programs," visit nytimes.com