One Step Closer to a “Baby Race to the Top”
The United States Department of Education was appropriated $700 million as part of last month’s budget deal to design a competitive grant program focused, in part, on improving early-childhood education for low-income and disadvantaged youth.
Recent speculation points to lawmakers moving forward with a “Baby Race to the Top” program, in which Delaware is well-positioned to compete. Delaware has demonstrated its conviction that early-childhood education is critical to ensuring that our students enter school ready to learn – and pays tremendous dividends into the future.
Three big things that Delaware has going for us are:
· Improvement in workforce qualifications:The Institute for Excellence at the University of Delaware is a state investment that enhances the qualifications of the workforce, including professional development and grants for programs that are working to improve quality through training staff.
· Coordination of services to create a seamless system: the Interagency Resource Management Committee brings together the three agencies (Education, Kids’, and Health and Social Services) that administer early childhood services, and these leaders are working together on a data system through Race to the Top and Head Start funds.
Recently, Governor Markell proposed appropriating over $20 million to strengthen our current early-childhood efforts – if approved, this would further solidify our competitiveness and pave the way for further progress.