Minn. to apply for next round of Race to the Top

Published 11:01 am Thursday, May 26, 2011

ST. PAUL — The Obama administration announced plans to hand out $500 million in education grants aimed at helping young children, and hours later Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said that Minnesota would apply.

The Obama administration’s Early Learning Challenge is the third round of its “Race to the Top” state competition, which passed out nearly $4 billion in federal education money last year.

The new competition is designed to encourage better coordination, clearer learning standards and increased access to early learning programs for low-income children.

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Dayton says one criteria for the grants is state-wide implementation of a quality rating system, such as the “Parent Aware” program now being tested in several neighborhoods.

However, the Legislature declined a proposal to expand the program statewide due to concerns that it was government over-reach.