Kentucky will not receive any of the $500 million available from the federal Race to the Top program for early childhood education.
Thirty-five states and two territories applied for the grant earlier this year and nine finalists were announced Friday, Kentucky not among them.
The commonwealth had reason to be optimistic after Gov. Steve Beshear formed the office for early childhood education earlier this year. The move was meant to make the state more competitive for federal funds.
“While we’re disappointed of course that Kentucky was not chosen, the process of competing for the early learning challenging has already provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the systemic and policy changes that can significantly raise the level of quality and access for our children,” said Terry Tolan, executive director of the Office for Early Childhood Education.
The council will continue to develop its plan based on higher quality care, family engagement and data, she said.
“While it could certainly accelerate the pace for change, we made a commitment at the time that we crafted the plan, that we would continue to move the plan forward regardless of whether we were funded in the first round,” said Tolan.
Kentucky has been rejected in three straight Race to the Top grant opportunities.
Winners of early childhood education grants include California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina , Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington state.