Washington is one of nine states that will share $500 million in early learning grant money from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
Washington will receive up to $60 million as part of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. The Race to the Top grant program challenged states to enact reforms that would increase access to high-quality early learning programs for children in low-income families.
Rep. Ruth Kagi, who chairs the House Early Learning & Human Services committee, heard the good news straight from Governor Gregoire this morning.
“This is truly the result of a collective effort by people across the state who have kept a focus on the importance of early learning,” Rep. Kagi said. “It started years ago with the Legislature’s creation of the Early Learning Advisory Council and Washington Learns, and is very promising for the future of education in our state.”
House Democrats championed a number of reforms that have improved early learning in Washington. These reforms, and our continued commitment to ensuring all kids are ready for school, put us in an excellent position to receive Race to the Top funding. A few of the recent reforms that helped push our application to the top are:
- Creating a Quality Rating and Improvement System to help licensed child care centers provide high-quality care.
- Implementing the successful WaKIDS program statewide by the 2014-15 school year. WaKids brings parents, teachers, and early learning provides together to help young children transition into public schools.
- Developing early learning guidelines.
- Strengthening measurement tools that track student progress from preschool to college.
- Enhancing professional development opportunities through awards and incentives for early learning providers.