Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

December 20, 2013

Michigan among six states receiving early learning grants

State will use money to expand child care training

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six states were announced Thursday as winners of a combined $280 million in government grants to improve early learning programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

The winning states in the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition were Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

This is the third time these early learning grants have been issued. Fourteen other states were previous winners. In total, nearly $1 billion in grants has been distributed.

In Michigan, the plan includes expanding training opportunities for home child care providers.

“This investment is a down payment to support and implement high-quality early learning programs across the country,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “There is still a lot more work for us to do.”

The Obama administration has pushed to improve the quality and availability of early childhood programs. President Barack Obama has proposed using an increase in cigarette taxes to help fund universal preschool for 4-year-olds.

HHS also implemented new rules requiring lower-performing Head Start programs to compete for funding as part of an effort to improve the quality of Head Start programs.

Mich. sees boost from $51.7M LANSING -- Officials say Michigan has about 182,000 children who will benefit from a $51.7 million in federal funding to improve early learning programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Michigan is one of six states announced Thursday as winners of a combined $280 million from the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition. Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement "children will be much more successful in school if they have a solid foundation for learning." State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says about 182,000 children in Michigan ages 3 to kindergarten entry from low-income families will benefit. Michigan's proposal to the federal government included a number of goals aimed at helping children and families. Winners were announced by the Education and Health and Human Services departments, which jointly administer the program.

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