Federal officials announced Friday that Delaware will receive $49.9 million in funding to be made available through the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge.


Federal officials announced Friday that Delaware will receive $49.9 million in funding to be made available through the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge.

Delaware is among nine states that will share a total of $500 million in federal grant funds to enhance their early childhood education programs.

Other winners included California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.

In its application for the federal contest, Delaware said  it would use the funds to expand and redesign the Delaware Starts for Early Success quality rating system, build a professional, effective workforce of high-quality teachers, support the health and development needs of the whole child, including health services and the “Parents as Teachers” program, and improve kindergarten readiness.

“The research is clear that investing in early childhood education pays economic dividends,” said Gov. Jack Markell in a statement. “The fact is, we cannot sit still in the face of economic competition. We must not be complacent. We must invest in our future, and we are. Our plan matches additional support with greater accountability, to ensure more students show up the first day of kindergarten ready and able to learn.”

The grant win comes a year after the state made a $22 million investment in early childhood education, specifically to help build stronger staff and encourage stronger services at early childhood education centers.

The state also received $119 million in federal K-12 Race to the Top competition.