In 2011, the Obama Administration announced that $500 million will be dedicated to a competition between states to improve early education. The Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) was designed to spur states to create holistic, coordinated early care and education systems (including players like childcare centers, Head Start, state-funded pre-k programs, and home-visiting programs) to close the school-readiness gap. In 2012, the RTT-ELC competition continues at a reduced level: $133 million available to five "runner-up" states that didn't win in 2011.
The idea for the competition came from a proposal that emerged from an Obama Administration budget request in 2009 and was first introduced in Congress by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) that year.
For the latest news on this unprecedented competition and how it is changing early education, check our ongoing coverage here and on Early Ed Watch.
August 13, 2013: Washington Races Forward In First Year of its Early Learning Challenge Grant
September 3, 2013: PreK-3rd Grade Work Elevated in New Round of Race to the top – ELC
May 31, 2013: Proposed Changes to the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge
June 22, 2012: What’s Expected of the 5 Runner-Up States in 2012 Early Learning Challenge?
April 12, 2012: Thoughts on the next Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge
April 10, 2012: Early Learning Challenge Winners Stalled in 2011 State Pre-K Funding
April 3, 2012: Race to the Top 2012: A Chance for PreK-3rd Reforms at the District Level
March 30, 2012: Reviewing the Results of the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge
March 16, 2012: The 'Race to the Top' Winners: How States Plan to Include the Early Grades
March 13, 2012: The 'Race to the Top' Winners: How States Plan to Assess Kindergarten Readiness
March 2, 2012: The 'Race to the Top' Winners: How States Plan to Develop the Workforce
February 17, 2012: The 'Race to the Top' Winners: How States Plan to Improve Early Learning Standards
February 15, 2012: The Next 'Race to the Top' Competition: At the State or District Level?
February 9, 2012: The 'Race to the Top' Winners: Evaluating Quality Rating Systems
February 7, 2012: The 'Race to the Top' Winners: How States Plan to Use Quality Ratings
December 16, 2011: Surprises in 9 Winners of the Early Learning Challenge
December 15, 2011: How Would States Include the Early Grades in their RTT - ELC Work?
December 8, 2011: What States Would Do if They Won the Early Learning Challenge
October 20, 2011: 37 Applicants for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge
September 1, 2011: Maps and More: Additional Materials from Our Race to the Top Analysis
August 26, 2011: Already Ahead: Top Contenders in the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge
August 24, 2011: Four Notes on Yesterday’s Release of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Application
August 23, 2011: What Must States Do to Win Early Learning Challenge Grant
August 18, 2011: Heard in the Forum: RTT-ELC Tools for States and New Resources
July 22, 2011: Help for 36 States (Probably) Vying for RTT-ELC Grants
July 15, 2011: Comparing Competitions: Race to the Top vs. RTT-ELC
July 11, 2011: Some Qu’s About Validating QRIS Using Learning Outcomes
July 11, 2011: On Beyond Pre-K
July 11, 2011: Our Comments on RTT-ELC: Good Start, Now Push for More
July 11, 2011: What is the Point of an ‘Invitational Priority’?
July 7, 2011: About Those 'Kindergarten-Entry Assessments' in Race to the Top
July 6, 2011: Governors, Are You Planning to Join the Early Learning Competition?
July 1, 2011: Need to Know: Deadlines, Dollars and Qu’s on the RTT-ELC So Far
July 1, 2011: Feds to Release Draft of What States Must Do To Win Challenge Grants
June 21, 2011: Recommendations to HHS and ED on the Early Learning Challenge
June 10, 2011: Heard in the Forum: Cast Your Vote on Priorities for Early Learning Challenge
June 6, 2011: 10 Burning Questions on the Early Learning Challenge
June 1, 2011: In National Journal Blog: How RttT-ELC Could Spur Improvements
May 27, 2011: Our Take on the 'Early Learning Challenge': Hope and Disappointment
May 15, 2011: States Invited to Compete for $500 Million via Early Learning Challenge
April 27, 2011: Awaiting Answers on Race to the Top & Early Learning
April 12, 2011: Merging the Early Learning Challenge Fund with ‘Race to the Top’?
March 8, 2011: Sen. Casey Introduces Bill for Early Learning Challenge Fund
February 14, 2011: Obama's FY12 Budget is Good to Early Ed
October 28, 2010: Trying to Revive the Early Learning Challenge Fund
June 10, 2010: Can Obama and Congress Repair Their Broken Promises on Early Ed?
April 14, 2010: Harkin and Duncan Say They Won't 'Walk Away' From Early Learning Challenge Grants
March 19, 2010: Reconciliation Bill Sets Sail Without Early Learning Challenge Grants
March 12, 2010: The Cliffhanger: What Will Become of Challenge Grants and Home Visitation?
February 18, 2010: Bank Subsidies vs. Early Learning Investments: An Update on Challenge Grants
November 11, 2009: Where's SAFRA?
September 17, 2009: House Clears the Way for Early Learning Challenge Fund
July 22, 2009: Early Learning Challenge Fund -- Trimmed to an 8-Year Program -- Is Approved by House Committee
July 15, 2009: Who Knew Student Loan Reform Could Mean So Much To Early Childhood?
May 29, 2009: A Closer Look at the President's Budget: Early Learning Challenge Fund
March 10, 2009: Early Education is the First Pillar in President's Education Plan