05/25/2011 - The Obama administration unveiled a competition Wednesday to spur reform among early-childhood programs and fuel spending at a time when many states are cutting funding for their youngest students.
The next phase of Obama’s Race to the Top program will distribute $500 million among states that plan to expand access to early-learning programs for children from low-income families and establish clear academic goals and strong evaluation systems.
“Investing in early learning is one of the smartest things we can do,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a telephone news conference. The competition is meant to inspire “bold reforms” that address problems of “uneven quality and uneven access,” he said.
“Lawmakers are starting to understand you cannot race to the top when children are not at the starting line,” said Marci Young, project director for Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States. She said the latest investment is a promising sign that early education could become a bigger priority in the reauthorized federal education law.
Read the article Obama Aims to Boost Early-Learning Programs in its entirety on The Washington Post's Web site.