As I write this, Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius are at the White House announcing 9 state winners of the Early Learning Challenge Race to the Top program, which according to press reports include: California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.
While many of the states on this list will not surprise folks who've been paying attention here, there are a few shockers--particularly the absence of Illinois, widely regarded as a front runner and in some respects model for the program, and the inclusion of California, whose budget and data-related woes led many to count it out. The list also should clearly underscore that ELC is NOT a pre-k program: Rhode Island, for instance, has only a recently-created pre-k pilot, and Minnesota serves relatively few children in pre-k.
The Education Department has not yet posted the reviewer comments and scores on their website--I'll have more to say once they're up.
I'd also just add: The fact that (as I write) the ELC announcement is front and center on the HHS website, and nowhere to be seen on ED's landing page tells you pretty much 90% of what you need to know about this program.