This month the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released proposed changes to future Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge competitions, which would be limited to states that have not already received a RTT-ELC grant.
For the most part, the requirements proposed by ED and HHS are identical to previous rounds. But there are five main changes, two of which have to do with the competition’s priorities.
The topics of the proposed priorities for future competitions are essentially the same as the first round. (These include: promoting school readiness for children with high-needs; including all early learning programs in quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS); understanding the status of children’s learning and development at kindergarten entry; sustaining improved early learning outcomes through the early elementary grades; and encouraging private-sector support.) In future rounds, however, the departments have discretion on which priorities they select and the weight each priority is assigned. For example, in the first RTT-ELC competition, “Sustaining Program Effects in the Early Elementary Grades” was an invitational priority, which means it did not earn an applicant any extra points. It appears that in future competitions, this could be elevated to a competitive (optional and point-earning) or absolute (required) priority.
Source: Early Ed Watch, The New America Foundation