Carper, Coons, Carney congratulate Delaware schools on winning federal grant for early childhood education

One of just nine states to win grant in Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Representative John Carney (all D-Del.) today congratulated Delaware on being one of just nine states to win federal funds in the Race to the Top – EarlyLearning Challenge. The new program rewards states that develop comprehensive plans for transforming their early learning systems with better coordination, clearer learning standards, and meaningful workforce development.

“I was proud to work closely with Gov. Markell, Sen. Coons, Rep. Carney, and Delaware Secretary of Education Lowery to ensure that Delaware had a strong application for this federal funding and I’m thrilled that our hard work has paid off,” Senator Carper said. “This grant is another important tool to help improve Delaware’s early-childhood educational programs through the innovative and ambitious reforms supported by Race to the Top. This funding will help Delaware’s educators employ assessments that better measure the First State’s youngest students’ knowledge and skills, including children enrolled in child care, Head Start centers and public or private preschools. I am delighted that Delaware is one of the states honoredwith this significant Race to the Top grant, it is a testament to the FirstState’s strong commitment to improving education for our children of all ages.”

“Too frequently, children enter elementary school already lagging behind those who have attended quality early-learning programs that teach development skills,” Senator Coons said. “We need to do everything we can to give our kids the best start possible, which is why I introduced legislation in March to create precisely this type of program. The Early Learning Challenge will improve the quality of our early-learning education and increase the number of children eligible to receive it. Under the leadership of GovernorMarkell and Secretary Lowery, Delaware has worked tirelessly to improve thequality of the education our kids receive, and the Early Learning Challengegrant is a testament to that. I heartily congratulate all of Delaware’s educators on this win.”

“I am pleased that Delaware has once again distinguished itself as a nationwide leader in education and I look forward to seeing the positive results that I am certain will follow from winning the Early Learning Challenge Competition,” Congressman Carney said. “This grant will help fortify efforts already underway to improve early childhood education across the state, with the goal of ensuring that every child enters kindergarten ready to learn. As a result of this achievement, and after years of statewide collaboration, Delaware is now poised to break new ground in our effort to provide a world-class education to every child in our state.”

To qualify for the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge, states’ plans had to increase access to quality early learning programs for low income and disadvantaged children, design integrated and transparent systems that align their early care and education programs, bolster training and support for the early learning workforce, create robust evaluation systems to document and share effective practices and successful programs, and help parents make informed decisions about care for their children.