GOV. MALLOY SEEKS RACE TO THE TOP FUNDS
Connecticut Application Collaborative Effort to Improve Outcomes For High-Need Children
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced today that the U.S. Department of Education accepted Connecticut's grant application seeking $49.99 million in Race To The Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant funding to help strengthen ongoing state initiatives in early childhood education, and to establish a comprehensive, integrated early childhood system focused on high-need children from birth to age five. Connecticut's application was submitted on Wednesday.
"Connecticut must be uncompromising in our commitment to delivering a high-quality education to all of our children-and ensuring our kids arrive at school ready to succeed," said Governor Malloy. "We have submitted a rigorous, but achievable application and I am optimistic that Secretary Duncan and Secretary Sebelius will recognize our commitment-and that Connecticut is well-positioned to improve the futures for our kids. We are establishing a framework for a much more comprehensive early childhood system that will help turn around Connecticut's dubious distinction of having one of the worst achievement gaps in the country."
The strong underpinnings of Connecticut's application stem from Governor Malloy's Executive Order No. 11, which established an Early Childhood Office, as well as Public Act 11-181, which established a coordinated system for early childhood care and education. To complement Connecticut's RTT-ELC application, Governor Malloy pledged to open 1,000 new high quality early childhood spaces for high-need children, create a new governance structure to help coordinate the systems involved in bringing services to high-need children, and strengthen current state resources that encompass early childhood health, nutrition, education and development.
"This is a statewide collaborative effort to further the Governor's objective to close the preparation and readiness gaps. When drafting Connecticut's RTT-ELC application, we engaged every state agency that touches the lives of children. Moreover, this collaborative spirit provides the basis for significantly improving the early education system in Connecticut," said Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.
Nearly 25 percent of Connecticut children enter Kindergarten unprepared to learn. Connecticut's early learning and development initiatives will cut that number in half and set a goal to have 90 percent of high-need children current on well-child physician's visits to promote better development outcomes.
"Every child deserves the chance to start school healthy and ready for success as a student," stated Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. "Children need to be healthy to learn, and we know that quality early learning and development programs improve children's health and readiness for school. This grant will allow us to more fully integrate health promotion, including nutrition and enhanced physical activity, into the state's early childhood system and provide Connecticut's children with the foundation they need to be successful in Kindergarten and beyond."
The state's application was the product of thousands of hours of work spanning several Connecticut state agencies and offices, and included the input of stakeholders and over 150 letters of support and intent. The Governor's Office, the Departments of Education, Social Services, Public Health, Developmental Services, Children and Families, and Administrative Services, the Office of Policy and Management, the State Head Start Collaboration Office, the Board of Regents, and the Early Childhood Education Cabinet collaborated on the plan, which would:
Invest in local early childhood efforts to coordinate resources and increase childcare and early learning quality through professional development and technical assistance for center-based and family-based childcare and family, friends & neighbors childcare
Establish robust monitoring and rating process to promote program and instructional improvement plus communication with families, and implement a Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System
Revise Early Learning Standard incorporating new health standards, and provide training and health consultations
Improve quality in teacher preparation and professional development for early childhood educators, and create pathways for family-based childcare and family, friends and neighbors care to access opportunities to improve their quality of care
Improve data collection and sharing to inform instruction and systems improvements
The U.S. Department of Education is expected to award the Race To The Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant in December 2011.
Governor Malloy has proposed that next session be focused on education issues.
The application can be viewed at www.ct.gov .
For Immediate Release: October 21, 2011
Contact: Juliet Manalan
Facebook: Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy