Early Childhood Race to the Top

Jul 12, 2011

A newly formed Early Childhood Advisory Council will help Kentucky create policies, standards, and goals which should improve the education given pre school children.

26 people have been named to a state council charged with seeking ways to improve early childhood education.  They were named today (Tuesday) in an executive order issued by Kentucky's governor.  Former C-E-O of United Way of Kentucky Terry Sims Tolan will direct the brand new Early Childhood Advisory Council.  Tolan says consistency of care is the highest priority.

“It doesn’t matter if they go to a childcare home while their mother goes to work or their father goes to work, or if they go to a childcare center, or if they go to Kera pre school or they go to head start,  we need to make sure that every child has the opportunity for that kind of high quality learning experience regardless of where they are coming from,” said Tolan.

The brand-new 26 member council includes Cindy Heine (HINE-ee) of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.  While Heine admits much can be accomplished through better collaboration, more state funding will ultimately be critical.

“If we’re going to actually provide more services for children, make pre-school available to more low income children, it will take dollars.  So, we will be asking the legislature, over time, for more money,” added Heine.

To further this effort, Kentucky is again seeking ‘Race to the Top’ dollars.  The Commonwealth is preparing an application for up to 60 million dollars from the federal grant program.  This time, state education commissioner Terry Holliday believes Kentucky is in the running.

“I think we have as good a chance as most states.  There are a few that I would say are a little ahead of us.  I would say North Carolina is a little ahead of us in this regard.   But, I think we’ll be in the competition for the five to ten grants.  I think we probably have a better chance at this one than we had the other ‘race to the top’ application,” explained Holliday.

Previous efforts by Kentucky to secure ‘race to the top’ federal monies have failed...mainly because Kentucky has no charter schools. This time the federal education program will focus on ‘early learning.’