Wisconsin was selected to receive an additional $11 million in Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge education grants from the federal government. This follows on the heels of Wisconsin's $22.7 million award in 2012. The state will use the award to continue to implement current programs being used to make advancements in our early childhood education system and further improve the access to quality early learning for our most vulnerable children.
"The additional Race to the Top funding will help Wisconsin continue to be a leader in early childhood education," Governor Walker said. "These funds will support initiatives to improve early education in our state and help ensure kids across the state are prepared to begin kindergarten."
Race to the Top Awards have been used to improve early childhood development, enhance teacher training, and increase parental involvement with the goal of having all Wisconsin children reading by the end of third grade.
The Department of Children and Families is the lead agency for the grant and will focus the funding to help YoungStar providers achieve higher star ratings through additional training, mentoring, and on-site coaching to develop innovations which improve family engagement in the early education of their children.
"We have to address the school readiness gap that exists between kids of different economic and racial backgrounds," Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Eloise Anderson said. "Making sure that families are engaged and ensuring educational standards are high is the key. Governor Walker has recognized that educational reform at the toddler and small child level is critical to the future of Wisconsin. These funds will help us ensure all children have the educational foundation that they will need in life."
A broad coalition of state agencies collaborated to develop Wisconsin's grant proposal which featured an ambitious reform agenda. The plan builds on the state's historic commitment to high quality early learning and development programs and incorporates recommendations made by the Governor's Early Childhood Advisory County in its 2011 report to Governor Walker.