18 States Win Share of $226M in R2T Early Learning Awards

Eighteen states have been named winners in the latest round of the Race to the Top: Preschool Development Grants (R2T) competition that will distribute $226 million to expand high-quality early childhood education programs.

The grants (CFDA Number: 84.419) are part of a larger effort to offer pre-K to more 4-year-olds.

It has two categories: one to low-capacity or rural states with small or no state-funded preschool programs (Development Grants); and another to high-capacity states with established programs or that have received Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants (Expansion Grants). They are jointly administered by the Education Dept. and HHS.

  • Development Grants (awards ranging from $2 million to $20 million per year over four years): To be eligible states must serve less than 10% percent of four-year-olds and have not received an RTT-ELC grant. Up to 35% of the grant award may be used for state-level infrastructure and quality improvements. Nine states applied; five states will be awarded development grants: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana and Nevada (see chart below).
  • Expansion Grants (awards ranging from $2 million to $20 million a year for four years): These grants will help states address fundamental needs including workforce development, quality improvement efforts and the scale-up of proven preschool models. ED said that 27 applied, 13 will receive expansion grants: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

Curious Winner

The most curious winner is Louisiana, which received a $2.4 million year-one expansion grant. The state is engaged in a furious intra-state battle over the adoption of the national Common Core standards for K-12 classrooms. The anti-Common Core side, which includes Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), has deemed the standards an unnecessary federal intrusion into local school board curriculum decision-making. Even so, while raising the federal over-reach complaint, the state got a piece of the R2T funding pie. It was one of 12 states that have not previously received funding from R2T-ELC

The president wants to create a federal-state partnership that would ensure universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds. The $75 billion, 10-year initiative, Preschool for All, is part of the administration’s strategy to improve services for young children. The preschool initiative is coupled with a companion investment at HHS for voluntary home visitation and quality care for infants and toddlers. The effort would be funded through a $1.6 billion increase in Early Head Start and Child Care (CFDA Number: 93.600) and additional funds to expand evidence-based, voluntary home visits.

“Expanding access to high-quality preschool is critically important to ensure the success of our children in school and beyond,” said ED Secy. Arne Duncan. “The states that have received new Preschool Development Grants will serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.”

Development Grants (Year One) Expansion Grants R2T-ELC States (Year One) Expansion Grants Non R2T-ELC States (Year One)
Alabama $17,500,000 Illinois $20,000,000 Arkansas $14,993,000
Arizona $20,000,000 Maryland $15,000,000 Connecticut $12,499,000
Hawaii $2,074,059 Massachusetts $15,000,000 Louisiana $2,437,982
Montana $10,000,000 New Jersey $17,498,115 Maine $3,497,319
Nevada $6,405,860 Rhode Island $2,290,840 New York $24,991,372
Total $55,979,919 Vermont $7,231,681 Tennessee $17,500,000
    Total $77,020,636 Virginia $17,500,000
        Total $93,418,673

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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