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Race to the Top -- Early Learning Challenge

The Race to the Top -- Early Learning Challenge (January 2012 through June 2016) focused on improving California's early learning and development programs and increasing access to high-quality programs for high-needs children.

The Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) initiative was announced on May 25, 2011, by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The $500 million state-level grant competition rewards states that created comprehensive plans to transform early learning systems for children, birth to age five, with better coordination and assessment mechanisms, clearer learning standards, and meaningful workforce development and family engagement initiatives. This grant requires other state agencies that administer specific programs to participate by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

The RTT-ELC grant competition focused on improving early learning and development programs for young children by supporting states' efforts to:

  1. increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children in each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs;
  2. design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services; and
  3. ensure that any use of assessments conforms with the recommendations of the National Research Council's reports on early childhood.

RTT-ELC Implementation
The RTT-ELC provided California with an opportunity to build upon the extensive early learning efforts that state and local communities have undertaken to date. The RTT-ELC Implementation Web page has information regarding the enactment of the RTT-ELC grant award process.

California's RTT-ELC Legislative Reports
The RTT-ELC Legislative Reports for California provide an update on federal RTT-ELC grant activities, the progress that has been made, and the work going forward.

California's 2012 RTT-ELC Annual Performance Report External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
On February 15, 2013, the RTT-ELC Phase I Grantee Annual Performance Reports (APRs) were due to the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. California’s 2012 APR provides an update on the federal RTT-ELC 2012 grant activities and the progress made.

California's 2013 RTT-ELC Annual Performance Report (PDF)

Independent Evaluation of California's RTT-ELC Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
This cumulative technical report, submitted by American Institutes for Research, presents findings which focus on the Validity and Reliability Study of California’s RTT-ELC QRIS.

California's RTT-ELC Regional Consortia
A list of RTT-ELC Regional Leadership Consortia and mentee counties.

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 27, 2022