In an effort to expand upon and enhance the quality of early childhood education in Ohio, The State of Ohio applied Wednesday, October 19, 2011 for a federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant. Ohio is potentially eligible for $70 million for 2012-2015. The Ohio Department of Education serves at the lead agency for the grant and worked collaboratively with the Governor’s office, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and the Ohio Business Roundtable to prepare the application.
Ohio’s grant application lays out Governor John Kasich’s reform agenda to close the kindergarten readiness gap between high-needs children and that of their more advantaged peers by increasing
access to high quality services; improving the quality of early childhood services; and measuring and reporting progress on the results we want to achieve for the state’s young children in need.
“This effort is focused on meeting the needs of our youngest children as they prepare for learning in kindergarten and beyond, said State Superintendent Stan Heffner. “We owe it to these kids, their parents and families to provide this needed support, and we are grateful for the opportunity presented through this potential Race to the Top funding.”
Nearly 75% of high-needs children in Ohio enter school without the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten. Unfortunately, these problems persist into the early grades and beyond. On the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, just 22 percent of economically disadvantaged Ohio fourth graders were proficient in mathematics, and only 15 percent were proficient in reading. The majority of these children will continue to struggle throughout their academic careers; nearly 30 percent of them will fail to graduate from high school.
The application will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education. Selections are expected by the end of the year.
Ohio’s application narrative is posted here.