Already Ahead: Top Contenders in the RTT-ELC

The Early Education Initiative (EEI), part of the New America Foundation, has compiled a wealth of data in an attempt to identify front-runners and possible contenders for the Department of Education’s Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge grant competition.  The data analyzed for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia included the presence of statewide kindergarten entry assessments; professional development opportunities for practitioners; family engagement policies; overall investment in early learning; and how states rate the quality of their early learning systems, how they collect this data, and then use it to improve their systems.  Though the analysis included data for everyone, only 37 states had announced their intentions to apply for grants as of August 26.

Based on the current and historical data they have analyzed, EEI has identified the following states as “Top Contenders”:

-New Mexico
-North Carolina

The Department of Education and the Department of Health & Human Services (who is co-sponsoring the competition) have placed caps on how much money each state can be awarded.  These allotments are in line with state populations, therefore larger states like New York and Texas are eligible for up to $100 million, while smaller states like Vermont and Rhode Island are eligible for up to $50 million.

To view the specific data and a summary presentation, please visit