Early Learning Challenge
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top grant competition received 37 applications. Minnesota was one of just nine states to receive a grant of $45 million for four years (2012-2015) to support the State’s ambitious plan to improve results for children and build capacity and accountability in our early learning system. Another five states received Early Learning Challenge grants in 2013. Minnesota was granted a one year, no-cost extension from the U.S. Department of Education, which extended the grant period through December 31, 2016. Visit the federal Race to the Top program at the federal Early Learning Challenge website to learn more.
The federal ELC program is designed to help highly committed states provide more low-income families with children birth to age five with access to high-quality early learning and development programs. Minnesota is particularly well-positioned to leverage this grant to meet the increasingly urgent need to ensure children, especially children with high needs.
In the years since receiving the grant, Minnesota has worked to implement an ambitious plan for early learning reform in five key areas:
- Increasing early childhood program quality and accountability
- Building a skilled early childhood workforce
- Increasing access to quality early childhood programs for children with high needs
- Measuring outcomes and progress
- Aligning state infrastructure around these goals
Efforts focus on four Transformation Zones across the state and will provide and test practices that can then be implemented throughout the state.
Minnesota’s ELC plan is supported by many committed partners who are actively working to achieve better results for Minnesota’s children.
ELC Website: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/StuSuc/EarlyLearn/index.html
ELC Contact: Lisa Barnidge, Project Manager