Michigan awarded grant for early childhood education

Michigan will receive $51.7 million in a federal grant in the third round of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. Five other states—Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont—are also benefitting from the $280 million total being awarded.  So far, 20 states have received grants.

This is the first time Michigan has been awarded any money from Race to the Top.  The grant, jointly operated by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, supports the education of children from birth to five years old.

In October 2013, the state submitted its grant application which set goals for the money: providing scholarships to early childhood education programs for families eligible for child care subsidies; promoting health and nutrition standards in child care facilities; and increasing participation in the state’s preschool ratings system.  It’s expected that more than 182,000 children from ages three to kindergarten from low-income families will benefit from the money.

In 2013, Gov. Rick Snyder pushed for $65 million in additional preschool funding, with another $65 million increase expected this year.  

In a related issue, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently announced revisions in early childhood standards that affect infant and toddler programs, pre-kindergarten, and out-of-school time standards. They are available at www.michigan.gov/greatstart.