Governor Kitzhaber today announced that Oregon will receive a $10 million supplemental Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant to improve quality and expand access to early learning programs in the state. The supplemental grant is in addition to the $20 million Oregon will receive over the next four years from the U.S Department of Education and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, which jointly issue the grants.
"This grant reinforces that Oregon is on the right track with improvements to early learning and school readiness," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Overcoming challenges for our earliest learners is key to student success, and is essential to reaching our educational and economic goals."
State recipients are chosen based on their ability to implement coherent, compelling, and comprehensive early learning education reform that results in high-quality early learning programs for young children. Oregon is one of six states receiving the supplemental award designed to spur broad system improvement.
"The need for early learning is clear, as studies prove that children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in school," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "These funds can help states develop and strengthen programs that serve America's youngest learners by expanding access to high-quality early education and providing them with a strong start on the path to closing the opportunity gap."
The federal grants support improvement in the quality of early learning and development programs, better training of early childhood educators, and better measurement of how well programs prepare children for kindergarten.