WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that Ohio has been awarded $69,993,362 in federal Race to the Top funds under the “Early Learning Challenge” program.
“Ensuring that our schools are ready to educate and serve our children is just as important as ensuring that our children are ready to learn,” Brown said. “The building blocks critical to a lifetime of learning are laid during early childhood. This federal award will combine and expand two successful, existing Ohio initiatives- SPARK Ohio and the Ready Schools Initiative—intended to help to prepare children for school and develop a school environment that is conducive to the needs of our children. Both initiatives have a proven track record in fostering success and this award will help their work go even further to benefit high-needs children and those in our most underserved neighborhoods.”
According to the state’s application, Ohio will use the funds to ensure all students start school ready to learn. This grant will help increase access to high-quality services for children, improve the quality of early childhood services and measure the progress of the state’s young children in need. The approach would broaden pre-kindergarten content standards to include social-emotional development, physical health and well-being, and approaches to learning. Ohio also would develop and implement coordinated assessments, data systems and a quality rating and improvement process for all types of publicly funded early learning and development programs.
In October 2011, Senator Brown wrote a letter of support regarding Race to the Top funds for Ohio to Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In July 2011, Senator Brown introduced the Ready Schools Act of 2011, a bill aimed at preparing elementary schools to serve the needs of all children.