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NAF Analysis Shows 11 States Well-Positioned to Win in Latest ‘Race to the Top’ Competition

Published:   August 26, 2011

A state-by-state analysis by the New America Foundation shows that 11 states are top contenders in a new federal grant competition aimed at improving the quality and coordination of early learning programs. The analysis, presented as a slideshow, provides an inside look at how well all 50 states and the District of Columbia are positioned to win a grant in the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge.

The Early Learning Challenge is a $500 million competition launched this summer by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Grants will range from $50 million to $100 million per winning state. Using data from myriad national sources, the Early Education Initiative of the New America Foundation analyzed states’ records on adopting strategies to coordinate and improve the quality of subsidized child care programs, Head Start, state-funded pre-kindergarten and other initiatives designed for children from birth through age 5.

States are sorted into three categories: Top Contenders, Likely Contenders, and Unlikely Contenders. The Top Contenders were determined by the New America Foundation as those states with records of action that met portions of the core criteria outlined by the federal agencies as important for winning a grant.

These states include:

  • Tennessee
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Ohio
  • Vermont

One important caveat is that the analysis does not make predictions of what states may plan to do to improve early childhood programs; in the competition, states will be graded on their current record as well as their plans for moving forward.

To View the Analysis, go here:


Please contact Sabrina Siddiqui, Media Relations Manager, at 202.596.3365 or siddiqui@newamerica.net, for interviews with Laura Bornfreund, policy analyst for the Early Education Initiative.  

The New America Foundation has an ISDN line for radio interviews, and a VideoLink Readycam system for remote television appearances.

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