October 19, 2011
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Comments on
Federal Early Learning Grant Application
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement regarding California's application for the federal Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant that was filed today:
"Our application reflects California's dedication to the principle that—even in these challenging times—every child deserves the opportunity that comes with a good start in the lifelong journey of learning," Torlakson said.
"We know that investments in early learning pay off for our state, our society, and for California's children. I'm hopeful that federal authorities will see that this application represents an opportunity to build on state and local efforts to help close the achievement gap by improving the quality of California's early learning and care programs."
RTT-ELC was unveiled in May 2011 by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The $500 million fund is a competitive grant designed to increase access to quality early learning programs for low-income and disadvantaged children.
As part of the competition, California is eligible for up to $100 million. States were asked to design a system that aligns their early learning programs, workforce development, evaluation systems, and efforts to help parents make informed decisions about the care of their children. For more information on RTT-ELC, please visit the U.S. Department of Education Web site at Race to the Top -- Early Learning Challenge [http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/index.html] .