After winning a $700 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education last year, New York is applying for a new round of federal Race to the Top funding.
The state is applying for a Race to the Top — Early Learning Challenge grant and could receive up to $100 million to improve early learning programs. The U.S. Department of Education is seeking proposals to “transform early learning systems through better coordination, clearer learning standards and meaningful workforce development,” according to a statement released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“A quality education is our promise to every child, and it begins with first-rate early learning programs,” Cuomo said. “Early learning is critical to providing the building blocks for school readiness and student achievement, and helps create a well-rounded and educated workforce that is vital to New York’s future. I commend the Obama Administration for making quality early education a priority.”
Cuomo’s office will work with the state Education and Health departments and the state Office of Children and Family Services to craft the application.
“The Regents and I are delighted that Governor Cuomo has chosen to participate in the federal government’s Race to the Top – Early Learning Competition,” said John King, state education commissioner. “We look forward to working with him to develop a rigorous, innovative proposal that supports the Regents reform agenda and provides critical opportunities for high-quality early learning programs and parent engagement.”
State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, a physician, said the first years of a child’s life are a critical learning period. New York has been a leader nationally with initiatives like the Early Intervention Program and Child and Adult Care Food programs, he said.
“An increased federal investment will assure that these and other programs are available to assure that even more disadvantaged children receive the strong start they need on the road to becoming healthy and productive citizens.”
Applications are due in mid-October, with decisions on grantees expected by the end of the year. New York is one of four states eligible to receive up to $100 million, the largest grant category.