Posted at: 12/06/2012 10:47 AM
Updated at: 12/06/2012 7:36 PM
By: KOB.com staff and the Associated Press
New Mexico is among five states that will each get a share of the 2012 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, a $133 million grant fund aimed at improving quality and expanding access to early learning programs throughout their states.
New Mexico and the four other states - Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, and Wisconsin join nine existing state grantees who got first-round funding last year.
New Mexico's share of this year's $133 million award is $25 million.
The Race to Top-Early Learning Challenge program was first launched in 2011 as a program jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
Through this competition, the Obama Administration called on states to create proposals to improve early learning by coordinating existing programs, evaluating and rating program quality, and increasing access to high-quality programs, particularly for children with high needs.
Grants will be awarded over a 4-year period in accordance with each state’s plan.
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration said Thursday the state will use the federal money to ensure that children are ready to learn when they start kindergarten and to improve read skills of students from pre-kindergarten through the third grade.
Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera described the grant for New Mexico as a "huge victory for our students and schools."
The state could start to receive some of the money in February.
For more information on the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Fund or to read the 2012 applications, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/index.html.