You have probably heard by now that there is a new Race to the Top competition, and the bulk of the money available in that contest focuses on early education. More details on that contest are trickling out now, and we're hearing that states are going to have to wade into early-childhood assessment in order to position themselves well for a portion of that money.
My colleague Michele McNeil reports that if states want a shot at those grants, which will range from $50 million to $100 million, they are going to have to develop ways to rate the quality of their early-childhood programs, and craft standards and assessments to gauge children's kindergarten readiness, and how well the youngest students are progressing toward academic goals.
Interest in this competition is intense, if you can judge by the number of tweets of Michele's blog post.
There's been a flurry of activity lately among states seeking to ensure that students read on grade level by 3rd grade, as we reported recently. States and districts have been pursuing policies that seek to diagnose reading difficulties early and intervene. It will be interesting to see whether states that win a new RTT grant could use the money to extend that kind of work.