The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant is not a single activity; it is the vehicle for accomplishing our mission and supporting Oregon children and families. It is a four year, $20 million federal grant recognizing Oregon’s early learning work, and strengthening a statewide early care and education system.
State recipients were chosen based on their ability to implement coherent, compelling, and comprehensive early learning education reform. This funding is designed to spur broad system improvement –not to pay for direct services. A total of $500 million has been awarded through the grant.
The state will receive $20 million over four years to ensure Oregon children enter school ready to learn and succeed. You’ve seen these activities elsewhere on our site. The Early Learning Council prioritized the activities below through determining the greatest impact on young children, and that fit grant scope and requirements:
- Quality Rating Improvement System
Race to the Top resources will engage providers with more training, mentorship, and professional development.
- Early Childhood Workforce
Race to the Top resources will provide professional development to support career pathways for early childhood educators to develop expertise in quality early learning and best practices.
- Family and Community Access
Race to the Top resources will provide dedicated outreach to build an informed, engaged public around quality early learning environments.
- Enhance the QRIS Data System
Race to the Top resources will enhance and connect data systems to capture quality information to deliver service providers, policy makers, and funders information needed to ensure better outcomes for children.
- Kindergarten Assessment
Race to the Top resources will allow Oregon to align statewide early learning with K-12 Common Core standards, launch the statewide rollout of the assessment, and gauge where children are at when they enter school.
Activities connecting early learning programs and the K-12 system are a priority throughout. Grant funding provides Oregon an opportunity to execute the system, making historic progress.
This is Oregon’s first successful Race to the Top application. The statewide Early Learning Council, established in July 2011 by the Oregon Legislature, is the lead agency in charge of implementing the grant.
Thirty-five states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico submitted applications to compete for the first round of the federal early learning grant, which was first announced in 2011. Oregon finished 13th (since revised to 12th) in that first round; only the top nine were funded. Based on the strength of Oregon’s application, the state was invited with four others to apply for a second round of Race to the Top in April 2012.
Race to the Top Grant Update
August 2: The U.S. Department of Education announced that Oregon and five other states would receive supplemental funding for the Race to the Top grant. You can read the full press release here.
March 29: A team of state agencies submitted a work plan to the US Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services.