Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

The Early Learning Challenge Grant

Minnesota was one of only nine states awarded a federal Race to the Top--Early Learning Challenge grant in December 2011. This $45 million award is designed to improve early learning and development opportunities for Minnesota’s young children. The grant addresses a critical need to provide more high-needs children from birth to age five with access to high-quality early care and education programs.

Minnesota has begun to implement an ambitious plan for early learning reform that spans the 2012-2015 time frame of the grant.

The plan focuses on five main areas:

  • Increasing early childhood program quality and accountability
  • Building a skilled early childhood workforce
  • Increasing access to quality early childhood programs for children with high needs
  • Measuring outcomes and progress
  • Aligning state infrastructure around these goals

Our first efforts are focused on four high-need communities (known as the Transformation Zones): White Earth Reservation, Itasca County, St. Paul’s Promise Neighborhood, and Minneapolis’ North Side Achievement Zone. Work in these areas will provide and test practices. Those that prove effective can then be implemented throughout the state.

Minnesota’s Early Learning Challenge plan has support from many partners, actively working together to achieve better results for Minnesota’s children. It provides a framework for us to work together on behalf of Minnesota’s youngest children.

View Minnesota's Annual Performance Report - 2013.