North Carolina and eight other states have landed federal grants worth up to $70 million to boost early childhood education programs.
The state will use the money to expand and launch programs, such as its starred rating system, ensuring families in low-income areas have access to education, and measuring the effectiveness of those efforts.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat, was among members of the state’s congressional delegation who supported the application in the competition involving 35 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
“We have long understood in North Carolina that our investments in education cannot wait until kindergarten or first grade,” Hagan said in a new release issued this morning as the winners were being announced. “North Carolina’s selection as a winner of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant solidifies our state’s place as a national leader in early childhood education.”
Gov. Bev Perdue’s prepared remarks, also issued this morning, took a swing at the Republican-led General Assembly’s cuts to early education programs this year. She noted that a state judge ordered a program be offered to all eligible at-risk 4-year-olds who apply.
Perdue has offered the legislature a way to fund participation in the program without raising taxes or cutting vital services.
“This grant shows how successful North Carolina has been in executing our vision for putting all of our children on a path to a bright future,” Perdue said. “It’s time for the General Assembly to follow the court’s order and do the right thing for North Carolina’s children.”