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$500 Million in Early Education Aid Up For Grabs

The fiscal 2011 budget deal Congress passed in April allocated $700 million for the Department of Education's Race to the Top competition. Secretary of Eduction Arne Duncan has chosen to put $500 million into early education.

For a state to win a grant it will have to develop rating systems for their programs, craft appropriate standards and tests for young children, and set clear expectations for what teachers should know.

The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge awards will range from $50 million to $100 million, depending on a state's population, and the contest is open to all states. Small states are eligible for maximum grants of $75 million. For this early-learning competition, four states—California, Florida, New York, and Texas—are eligible for $100 million. For these big states, $100 million won't go as far; the biggest states in the previous Race to the Top won $700 million each.

35 States Apply for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

You may remember our reporting on the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, a $500 million state-level competitive grant program to improve early learning and development.

Back in May, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius joined business, law enforcement and military leaders to announce the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, highlighting how investments in high-quality early learning programs help reduce crime, strengthen national security, and boost competitiveness.

The Department received applications from 35 states, DC and Puerto Rico prior to the cut-off date for filing applications.With awards ranging from $50 million up to $100 million, one is left to wonder why there were any states not applying.

25 Years Later, Study Finds Benefits of Quality Child Care Persist

New data from the long running, highly regarded Abecedarian Project shows adults who participated in a high quality early childhood education program in the 1970's are still benefitting in a variety of ways from their early experiences.

Led by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Abecedarian Project has followed participants from early childhood through their teens and into young adulthood, so far. The study is ongoing and continues to generate data as the longest and most comprehensive study of its kind.

The latest study of Abecedarian Project participants at age 30, shows they attained significantly more years of education than their peers who did not receive high quality child care .

Global Child Care Trends

As someone who spends a significant part of each day reading child care and development news in order to bring you the stories you find here, I can't help but notice several ongoing trends. These trends are not unique to the United States, but exist worldwide.

You wouldn't think the same problems and challenges we face here are also prevalent in places like Uganda or Kuali Lumpar or India, but they are.

First and foremost is the fact that demand outstrips supply.

Whether it's Nebraska or new Delhi, Arkansas or Australia, there are not enough child care facilities to meet the demand. The need is so critical in some places (Bismark, North Dakota and Belfast, Ireland for example) that companies and municipal facilities were unable to hire workers because there was no childcare available - all existing facilities were full.

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