Ky. receives $44.3M in early learning grants

Ky. receives $44.3M in early learning grants

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration has announced that six states, including Kentucky, have won a combined $280 million in grants to improve early learning programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont were the winning states in the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. The winners were announced by the Education and Health and Human Services departments. The two agencies jointly administer the program.

Kentucky will receive $44.3 million in grant money.

"This $44 million grant represents one of the largest single investments in Kentucky's students, and it's targeted specifically to our youngest students, who will carry the positive impact of these programs throughout their school careers," said Ky. Gov. Steve Beshear. "This is an unprecedented opportunity to make the large-scale improvements in early childhood education that we have long known are critical to student success, but have always been shelved because of lack of funding. Make no mistake, we cannot underestimate the good that will come from this grant in the years to come."

This is the third time these early learning grants have been issued. Fourteen other states were previous winners. The winning states must show a willingness to carry out comprehensive improvements to programs focused on children from birth to age 5.

Details were expected to be released later Thursday about what the winning states proposed to do with the money.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report