White House Awards Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grants

Uploaded by whitehouse on 16.12.2011

Melody Barnes: Wonderful. Good morning everyone.
Audience: Good morning.
Melody Barnes: And welcome to the White House.
We are so pleased and so proud to have all of you here today to
talk about an issue that is really critical to the future
of our nation.
And that is the issue of early learning.
We have some of the best of the best here to speak with
you this morning.
Including Barbara Bowman and James Heckman.
As well as not only two wonderful Secretaries of
Health and Human Services and the Department of Education but
also good friends and partners of mine,
Secretary Arnie Duncan and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
And I know that you all will also contribute to a really
vibrant conversation through the questions that you have.
And we look forward to learning from you as well.
In addition to that, we have the very exciting news of the
announcement of the winners of the raise to the top early
learning challenge.
So the secretaries will share that information with you in
just a few moments.
As the president has said many, many times,
in today's global economy, we can't out compete the rest of
the world unless we out educate the rest of the world.
And I think every single person in this room and watching today
knows that that begins at day one.
That begins with our children at the very,
very earliest stages of their lives.
Since he entered public life, the President has worked to
increase the number of children who are entering kindergarten
ready to succeed.
He was focused on that goal when he was an
Illinois state senator.
He supported efforts to strengthen head start and
child care as a U.S. senator.
And while in the White House he has taken on the challenge of
raising standards, improving results,
and fostering innovation as we educate and nurture our children
from day one.
Our view is simply this, if the early years are critical to a
child's development, then we have to set high standards,
the very high standards as we begin to educate them from the
first days of their lives.
After all, how can our children be ready to compete for the jobs
of the future if we haven't prepared them from the very,
very beginning?
So over the past three years, we have expanded our home
visiting programs.
We are proud to do that.
We are also proud because that gives parents the tools that
they need so that they can nurture and support
their children.
We have also taken steps to improve child care and to
establish new policies and practices that are going to
enhance the experience of hundreds of thousands of
churn in our Head Start and early Head Start programs.
But beyond demanding the most -- there is a fly up here.
Everybody is in on it.
Beyond demanding the most from our federal programs,
we also had to start from the beginning of the administration
with the President setting out a challenge to states to build
systems that will strengthen early learning environments for
all children, for every single child.
And with that goal in mind, our administration crafted Race to
the Top early learning competition to address
some of the core challenges presented in today's early
learning landscape.
How can states improve program quality?
How can they include child outcomes in determining
program effectiveness?
And how do we build the very best possible work force of
early educators?
First, we set the bar high.
We set the bar extremely high, because we want the
best for our children.
We ask states to integrate and align their programs,
resources and policies across all agencies to support and
improve the quality of all early learning programs.
We ask them to adopt consistent and common standards of cross
programs that will help determine what young children
need to know and be able to do by the time they reach
kindergarten, while also defining the elements of
high quality programs.
We ask for plans to improve the preparation and support of our
early education work force, so that they have the opportunity
to improve their practices and hone the observation and
documentation skills that they need to evaluate a
child's progress.
We ask for plans that will engage families in early
learning and development to make sure that they are a part of
their children's development.
And help programs implement appropriate strategies that
will improve results for girls and boys.
These are the forms at the center of the Race to the Top
early learning challenge.
They establish a national vision for closing the
school readiness gap.
And for ensuring that children get the highest quality care and
support possible to be successful later in life.
We are very, very proud that today we are going to make good
on the President's commitment.
We will provide support for states that are leading the way,
encourage others to follow, and provide a model for better
preparing our youngest children.
Our pay off here today is not just better test scores and
higher graduation rates.
Those things are terrific.
They are important.
They are critical.
But most importantly, it will be ensuring that our
children are prepared to fulfill their promise.
And their purpose.
To make sure that we have stronger families and that
we are supporting them.
And stronger communities as well.
And ultimately, that will benefit our country,
and ensure that we have a stronger economy and we are
able to compete in a global economy.
So I want to thank, as I said at the beginning,
two of the most outstanding secretaries,
Secretary Duncan and Secretary Sebelius, for being such
wonderful partners and making sure that we brought this
competition together.
And that we get to today.
And even though today is an amazing day,
the work is just beginning as we partner with states and support
their efforts, and continue to do what we think is so important
at the federal level.
And now I am going to call one of them forward.
Secretary Arnie Duncan to tell you a little bit more and get
today underway.
But thank you so much for being here and we look forward to
today's conversation with you.
Secretary Arnie Duncan: Before Melody ducks out, can we please give her --
she is not ducking out. She is staying.
Please, everyone, give Melody a round of applause.
She has been --
I just have to say quickly.
She has been an amazing, amazing partner.
There is not one thing that we have done over the past three
years, whether it is Race to the Top,
whether it is invest in innovation fund,
whether it is school improvement grants,
whether it is Promise to Neighborhoods Initiative.
There is not one thing that we have done that we could
have done without Melody's unbelievable
hard work and support.
She has been just a champion for education.
As you know, she is moving on in the next couple of weeks.
I am in denial about that and keep thinking that it
is not quite true.
But whatever we do going forward is the big part of her legacy.
And Melody, I just want to thank you for being such a
wonderful partner.
This is a big, big day for the country.
We are thrilled to be here.
It is a lot of hard work to get to this point.
But we are trying to transform the quality
of education for our nation.
And everyone here, everyone who is here absolutely realizes that
we can't do that if we don't start with our babies,
if we don't start with our youngest children.
With this announcement today, I believe our nation has taken an
important step forward in creating a high quality
system of early learning.
And one that prepares our youngest Americans for success
in kindergarten, through elementary school,
middle school, high school and beyond.
Everyone who works in education can agree that investing in
early learning is one of the smartest things we can do.
Whether it is elementary school teachers or prize winning
economists, they recognize that high quality early learning
programs pay remarkable dividends down the road.
It is probably the best investment we can make.
Research studies confirm that the best early learning programs
boost student achievement and increase high school and college
graduation rates.
They also show that high quality early learning opportunities are
especially important for low income students.
And if we are going to be serious,
if we as a country are going to be serious about actually
closing achievement gaps, not just talking about them and
admiring the problem, but closing gaps and leveling the
playing field, nothing is more important than getting our
babies off air to a good start.
In short, early learning is critical for our nation's
long-term economic competitiveness.
Through the Race to the Top early learning challenge grants,
nine states will lead the way in transforming early learning
programs and services.
From a patch work of disconnected programs
with uneven quality into integrated systems that
truly and consistently prepare children for success in school
and in life.
And simply put, that is the goal of this effort.
To prepare more children for success in school and in life.
And I am confident that these nine states will lead the
transformation of early learning programs for the nation.
States have responded with amazing courage and commitment
to the first two rounds of the Race to the Top.
And I am convinced we have seen more progress in education
reform over the past two years than we have seen in the past
two decades combined.
Lead by Rhode Island.
States are tackling tough issues,
such as challenges students to meet real college and career
ready standards, fixing broken teacher evaluation and support
systems, and taking on those chronically under
performing schools.
And the impact has gone far beyond the winners
of Race to the Top.
So many other states, whether or not they received a dime from
us, have taken up the challenge and are making courageous
decisions to drive reform and to accelerate student achievement.
With this announcement today, fourteen states in DC are now
part of Race to the Top.
And another seven, you know, seven,
in New Jersey and these are the not winners today.
We are going to talk about this next week.
But New Jersey, Arizona, Louisiana, Illinois, Colorado,
Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
Another seven are eligible for a share of the two hundred million
dollars remaining in FY11.
And we'll make that announcement as I said next week.
Together, these states serve almost two thirds of our
nation's children and about 60 percent of the low income
children in the country.
In addition, 44 states are working together in two
consortia to develop the next generation of assessments.
And they are also being funded by Race to the Top.
So we think we are moving the entire country forward
with this effort.
Over the next four years, the nine states we'll announce today
will use early learning challenge grants to blaze
similarly ground breaking paths.
They will be setting a consistent high standard of
quality across programs and across funding streams that have
been separated for far too long.
Everyone here knows parents don't care about program names
and about funding streams.
They just want great opportunities for their children
to learn, to play, and to grow.
These states will work to build the very about best work force
for early learning programs.
And provide those committed professionals with a meaningful
professional development and the support they need to make a
difference in their student's lives.
They will create -- create developmentally appropriate
assessments to help teachers understand young children's
development and learning and measure whether programs are
or are not providing high quality learning environments
for children.
And all of this work will build on a high quality network of
early learning programs and services across their states.
And I want to recognize that all 37 state applicants are
benefiting just from going through the process.
Every single state put thought and energy into developing high
quality applications, new collaborations and a clarity of
vision for their State's early learning agenda.
They put forth innovative ideas that they can and should move
from plans on paper to action plans and
then to implementation.
In reviewing the applications and we wanted to fund so many
more than we could.
We just simply funded as much as we had money for.
One of the things that impressed our teams the most was the
collaboration between states.
And although they were theoretically competing
for these funds with each other, they actually reached out to
work together on some of the toughest challenges.
And leaders across the country are recognizing they don't have
to do this work in isolation.
It just doesn't make sense.
They want to collaborate to design developmentally
appropriate assessments for children or to pilot ways to
evaluate the quality of their programs.
In addition, private foundations have stepped up to the plate to
support states in this critically important work.
Through these partnerships, the impact of the early learning
challenge grants will be magnified if states,
private partners, and local agencies work together to find
the policies that work best for their states' young children.
Here at the federal level, we are striving to be a model for
that kind of partnership and to cut through the dysfunctional
silos of the past.
Our team at the Department of the Education has been working
extraordinarily closely with our colleagues at the Department of
Health and Human Services.
Without their fierce determination to break
down those silos and work together on behalf of children,
we simply wouldn't be here today.
And I want to thank the staffs of both the department of
education and HHS for making this happen.
If I could ask the staff just to raise their hand?
Let's give them all a round of applause.
They have done amazing work.
The theory of collaboration is great;
the day-to-day reality is pretty tough.
And they work through every single issue together;
a lot of hard work and a lot of effort.
But I can't tell you how much that means to me and Kathleen.
And I am -- we want to continue to -- to work in that spirit
moving forward.
And I want to thank Secretary Sebelius, my good friend,
for being such an amazing partner on
this effort and others.
I always say we bounded over H1N1 in trying to teach the
country to cough correctly.
That was important work.
It wasn't necessarily a lot of fun.
This one has been a lot of fun.
And I am thrilled to have this opportunity.
As a former governor, she absolutely understands that
we have to educate our way to a better economy and that
education starts at birth.
Please give a warm welcome to my friend, Secretary Sebelius.
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: Well, good morning everybody.
And I am thrilled to be here with Arnie Duncan today at this
exciting announcement.
I want to start by also adding my thanks to Melody Barnes.
Collaboration is something that the domestic policy council has
really driven.
It is important to the president.
It is important to all of us.
But particularly the time where resources are scarce,
leveraging all of the assets that we have,
all of the expertise that we have,
is just a smart way of getting good products at
the end of the day.
And Melody has been a champion for that kind of very
collaborative involved effort.
I just pretend she is not leaving.
So unlike Arnie, I am not in mourning yet because I just
don't want to deal with it.
But she has been a great leader.
Arnie is a great partner at the Department of Education.
And this is really historic.
Those of you in this room know how historic it is to have the
Secretary of Education side by side with the Secretary
of Health and Human Services talking about early childhood
and not just talking points, but this is the culmination of work
that has been done very much as partners together.
And that is not only producing a great result here at the early
learning challenge, but will produce great results for
millions and millions of young children for years to come.
So again, I want to thank Arnie.
Arnie is a visionary secretary of education, no question.
He works day and night to provide every child in America
the opportunity to compete, to have a great education from
cradle to college, to career, and that result will make
America a more prosperous country.
The staff work together, has been extraordinary,
and I know that work is driven by the commitment we all share.
To help every young child learn the skills that they'll need to
start kindergarten ready to succeed.
And those are critical skills.
When I entered public office 25 years ago,
I went to the Kansas legislature and my children
were two and five.
So this topic you have early childhood education was near
and dear to me because I was a mother with young children
involved in early learning programs.
We were just though 25 years ago beginning to understand what we
now know so well, how important those early years are in
cognitive and social and emotional development.
It is clear that investing in early childhood was one of the
best bets that government could make.
The pay off lead to more productive adults,
stronger families, and more secure communities.
And that research has been now replicated over and over again.
I then had the opportunity to serve as governor.
And we knew that making early childhood education
a top priority was incredibly important.
And we quickly saw progress in a state of Kansas.
And yet what I experienced as a governor was that we really
didn't have a great partner at the federal level.
We didn't have the attention or the focus of either congress at
that time or the administration.
There wasn't a great deal of interest in early childhood,
so states were pretty much out on their own.
They -- we stole great ideas from one another,
but we really worked within our own state and tried to leverage
some private dollars to support improvements.
That began to change immediately with this administration.
Funds under the Recovery Act, one of the first bills signed
into law by President Obama, added more than four thousand
Head Start and early Head Start classrooms
throughout the country.
We have revamped our training programs forehead start
providers, so teachers are qualified to bring the best
practices to those classrooms.
And again as you know, those classrooms serve some of the
most vulnerable children in the country.
We are implementing rules that for the first time will require
Head Start programs that aren't meeting rigorous standards to
compete for continued funding.
So that our funds go to the most capable organizations providing
the highest quality service to America's neediest children.
And we are just as committed to strengthening our child
care system.
By working with states to improve health and safety
standards and give parents more tools,
more information about the quality of care provided by
different programs so they can make the best choices
for their children.
Today states receiving the Race to the Top early learning
challenge grants are building on those efforts to create high
quality systems across early learning programs.
So at the heart of all of these efforts is a belief that helping
children succeed in school and in life,
is not just about better teaching training or student
assessments or more help to families.
It has to be all of those things and more.
Every child, every child deserves a quality early
education program with a well trained teacher,
who brings the best evidence based practices and curriculum
into the classroom.
They also deserve families engaged in their education.
And they need adults tracking their development and academic
process detecting and addressing any problems early on.
And they need to be healthy.
Socially, emotionally, physically healthy so
they can learn.
And this holistic approach is one thing that ties together the
nine states winning awards today through the Race to the Top
early learning challenge.
They are creating high quality early learning systems,
that not only teach our children prereading skills,
but also provide critical health screenings,
and build healthy routines around exercise and nutrition.
They are creating and strengthening systems
to assess the quality of thousands of individual
early education programs.
And to communicate that assessment to parents so
they can make informed choices about their children's earliest
educational experience.
And states are taking steps to actively engage parents so they
can help their children succeed.
Several states have proposed adopting the new Head Start
family and community engagement framework as a state wide model.
Now this is a first of a kind document that applies evidence
based approaches to help parents take a more active role in
preparing their children for kindergarten.
We believe that progress like this won't be limited to the
nine states awarded funds today.
By pushing everyone as Secretary Duncan has already said to raise
their game, we intend to foster innovation in early childhood
programs around the country.
And I look forward to following their progress in the months and
years ahead.
Last month, I was able to join the President at a Head Start
center outside of Philadelphia.
And President Obama declared once again
our future is at stake.
Our children deserve action.
And he is right.
The only way America can out compete the rest of the world
is if we out educate the rest of the world.
And the only way to do that is to give every child the chance
to enter school healthy, fully prepared and ready to succeed.
Now, I would like to -- I first of all want to add
an additional thanks.
I know that many of you in this room are actually doing the
heavy lifting day in and day out in programs around the country.
We have Head Start educators, we have those of you who run early
childhood programs, we have teachers here.
And I just want to add our thanks to you.
So -- (applause)
You are here representing thousands of others across
this country who are making a difference each and every day.
And I would like to ask Secretary Duncan to join me back
at the podium so we can formally announce the states receiving
the Race to the Top early learning challenge grants.
Of the 37 applicants, nine states were selected.
And they are:
(knocking on podium)
Drum roll please.
California. Delaware. Maryland. Massachusetts.
Secretary Duncan: Minnesota. North Carolina. Ohio. Rhode Island.
And Washington state.
Secretary Sebelius: Yes, indeed.
Secretary Duncan: Congratulations to all of those states,
to every state that applied.
Again, if we had more resources, there are many more states we
wanted to fund and we hope to come back and do more of this
going forward.
I would now like to introduce Jacqueline Jones.
She is just doing an amazing job as our Senior Adviser and point
person in early childhood education.
My good friend Barbara Bowman helped recruit her.
And when she came to us, we didn't have too many resources,
quite frankly, for early childhood education.
She drove an agenda, without a lot of dollars,
with the bully pulpit, with her commitment and the fact that we
were able to secure these kinds of resources gave her a chance
to drive the national conversation in a very
different way.
Thank you so much for your leadership, Jacqueline.
Jacqueline Jones: This is such a fun -- a fun morning.
We are having a great time.
I am here to sort of move the program on because we have the
great honor of having -- of having Dr. James Heckman and
Barbara Bowman to talk with us this morning.
But I just wanted to start this by -- by introducing
a new partner.
An old partner is there, in the audience,
and I know Linda is going to acknowledge but we have got to
say that Joan Lombardi has been just a driving force so --
-- in the house.
There is -- make no mistake, she may not be wearing a federal
badge, but she is doing the hard work out there.
And we will be hearing from you I know.
I want to introduce Linda Smith who is the new Deputy Assistant
Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families.
And Linda has come to us -- the child care world has given us
Linda, but she is just a great partner.
We are thrilled to have her on this team.
You have to acknowledge that this week was a fascinating
week to start a new job.
So this is a trial by fire.
But she has handled it with grace and I just want to
introduce my new partner, Linda Smith.
Linda Smith: Well, yes, it is quite an experience to come to a job
one week before an announcement like this.
And to even be a part of a ceremony like this.
I want to acknowledge before I get started that this is being
live streamed just so people know that from across -- we
have folks from across the country joining in with us.
And we want to welcome this to -- welcome them to this session.
I want to start by saying how proud I am to be in this job and
to have this opportunity today to be a part of this ceremony.
For many, many people in this room and I can look around at
many people.
We have worked together for literally decades on this issue.
This is a phenomenal moment for early childhood education in
this country.
It has taken us literally years to get to this point where not
only do we recognize that early childhood matters,
but we are putting our federal money where our
mouth is finally.
And so I think it is just such an honor whether it is a week or
a year or whatever, into this program,
to be a part of this ceremony.
And I thank everyone for allowing me to be here.
I get to be the first one to congratulate the nine states.
And it -- it is -- I cannot tell you how in awe I am of
what came in, in the applications.
The thinking, the work, the hard work, the collaboration,
it was amazing and I really -- my hats are
off to the nine states.
And the other states that didn't win,
because believe me if we had more money,
there would be more winners.
So the competition was -- was strict.
And it was -- but the -- at the end of the day,
I want to make one note.
That while we have nine state winners,
and more states with great plans,
that this I think agenda has or this early learning challenge
will redefine the future of early childhood education in
this country.
And I think for that we owe so many people a lot.
We now have in place a foundation for moving
forward in a way that we have never had before.
So congratulations to the states,
but more importantly I think today the children in America
are winners.
So I want to thank everyone for coming and say that in
particular those of you who are here representing programs and
you are representing Head Start programs, pre K programs,
family child care and child care centers,
our hats are off to you because you do the hard work each and
every day to make things better for our kids.
So with that being said, I get the last and final honor of
recognizing Joan Lombardi who brought me to this position,
but who was so instrumental in making this happen.
We all owe her a great deal of gratitude and I thank you so
much, Joan.
She is sitting down here in the front row.
So now it gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce our
next speaker, Dr. James Heckman.
Dr. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor
of Economics and Public Service at the University of Chicago
where he has served since 1973.
In 2000, he won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences.
Dr. Heckman directs the Economic Research Center
in the Department of Economics in the Center for Social Program
Evaluation at the Harris School of Public Policy.
His work has been devoted to the development of a scientific
basis for economic policy evaluation.
His recent research focuses on inequality, human development,
and life cycle skill formation.
With a special emphasis on the economics of early
childhood education.
He is currently conducting new research and new social
experiments in early childhood interventions
and analyzing old experiments.
Among awards too numerous to list here,
Dr. Heckman was awarded the Distinguished Contributions to
Public Policy for Children Award from the Society for Research in
Child Development.
He is a member of The National Academy of Sciences and the
National Academy of Education.
And I think it goes without saying,
his work has helped so many of us move this agenda forward in
this country.
So please help me welcome Dr. Heckman.
Dr. James Heckman: Well, thank you very much for the introduction.
It's an honor for me to be here today with Secretary Duncan and
Secretary Sebelius to share this historic moment
for this country.
The early learning challenge is a major step in helping states
voluntarily build comprehensive early childhood systems.
They can produce substantial economic and social returns
for generations to come.
I applaud the early learning challenge being implemented
today because it puts into place the wisdom of solid
empirical science.
A substantial body of research knows and shows that parents
matter and that supplementing parental resources and investing
in young children promotes productivity
and reduces inequality.
Well designed implementations of early childhood programs past
stringent cost benefit tests and have high economic and social
rates of return.
They are one of the few options, currently here in Washington and
in any country, in the public policy arena around the world
that have none of the standard equity efficiency tradeoffs
that are true of most public policies.
What is fair is also economically efficient
and will promote the productivity of
American society.
Hard empirical evidence shows that high quality early
childhood systems foster the development of critical
cognitive emotional and social abilities,
especially for disadvantaged children whose families lack
resources and access to early learning opportunities.
And we know that these can essentially help reduce
achievement gaps and open voluntary participation for
society at large into a greater social inclusion.
Now, the recent research teaches us three lessons that should
guide any successful approach to child development.
And I want to have us review these lessons today.
The first lesson is to develop the whole child.
Many major economic and social problems like crime,
teenage pregnancy, dropping out of school, adverse health,
are linked to low levels of skill and ability.
Those with high levels of skill and ability succeed in life.
Now, in promoting successful lives,
policymakers need to recognize the multiplicity
of human abilities.
Currently, public policy in most countries around the world --
and the U.S. is no exception -- focuses on promoting and
measuring cognitive ability as measured by achievement tests.
Scores on No Child Left Behind tests have become a principle
target for evaluating success of performance
of schools in America.
PISA tests play a similar role in Europe.
This exclusive focus on cognition ignores the hard
evidence that focusing solely on the scores of achievement
tests ignores important non-cognitive social, physical,
and emotional factors that promote success in school
and at life.
There is no question that cognitive abilities are
important determinants of social economic success.
There is also decisive evidence that these social and emotional
skills, sometimes called soft skills,
play an important role in predistricting life's success
And in many tasks in life, we've come to understand
they're more important.
And there's also hard evidence, a body of very hard evidence,
on the power of these soft skills.
They contribute greatly to performance in society and
in workforce productivity.
The second lesson that the early challenge recognizes -- and I
hope will receive emphasis and continuing and renewed emphasis
-- is that inequalities open up early in life.
We live in an era of substantial and growing
social and economic inequality.
Much research in economics and psychology and neuroscience and
genetics emphasizes the importance and the origins
of inequality, the early origins of inequality,
and how to alleviate poverty from its source.
A major finding is that the accident of birth is a primary
source of inequality in American society, in fact,
in any society around the world.
Families play a very powerful world in shaping adult outcomes.
But it's not just through transmitting their genes.
Parental resources, skills and abilities matter greatly.
So we now have understood that gaps in cognitive and
non-cognitive social and emotional abilities between the
advantaged and the disadvantaged open up very early in the lives
of children, long before they enter school.
Family environments of young children are the major
predictors of these abilities.
Now, what we've learned in the hard lessons of social science
is that family environments in the U.S. and many other
countries around the world have deteriorated in the
last 40 years.
A greater fraction of children being born into disadvantaged
families where the resources available for parenting are
small due to growing inequality and family resources and
parental resources and child rearing environments,
the disparity in the resources available to the children of
the haves compared to the resources of the have nots
has increased substantially.
And as a group, children from the top of the income
distribution receive far more investment in parenting and
schooling than ever before.
And the disparities between the haves and the have nots
have widening.
This trend shows no side of abasing.
In fact, the current economic downturn has accelerated it.
Unchecked, it will actually reduce social mobility and
create greater economic and social polarization in the
next generations.
It will also increase the burdens on society of ill
health, crime, educational deficits,
for all future generations of Americans.
Failure to address this problem will result in
great economic deficits with few chances to generate revenue
through productivity.
The third and final lesson is that early intervention is far
more effective than later remediation.
The skills that matter can be created.
That we've learned.
Some 30, 40, 50 years ago, there was the notion that these skills
were given at birth, they were genetically determined,
God given.
The solid promise of recent research is these skills
can be created.
Child poverty is not determined, however,
solely by the income available to families.
It's most accurately measured by parent resources;
the attachment, the guidance, and the supervision accorded
children, as well as the quality of schools and the neighborhoods
that parents can draw on.
Experimental evidence establishes the benefits
of quality programs that supplement the early lives
of children from disadvantaged families.
This evidence is consistent with a large body of nonexperimental
evidence showing that the absence of supportive family
environments harms children and diminishes their opportunities
as adults.
If society helps early enough in the lives of children,
it can improve cognitive and social and emotional abilities
and the health of disadvantaged children.
Such early efforts have tremendous effects all
over the social spectrum.
And the interesting thing, from the point of view of economic
analysis, and from the debate on the budget and from the debate
on the whole question of where government spending should be
and where it should be spent most effectively is that the
rate of return to this investment, in early childhood
program, is actually higher than the return to the normal stock
market over the last 50 years, between 1945 and 2008,
never mind the meltdown.
So as programs are currently configured in many countries --
and there's always room for improvement,
improvements in the early life cycle -- investments in the
early life cycle of disadvantaged children
especially have much higher economic and social returns than
many later life remediation programs targeted for
disadvantaged adolescents like reduced pupil-teacher ratios,
public job training, convict rehabilitation programs,
adult literacy programs, tuition subsidies,
or expenditures on police.
So there's a substantial benefit.
And this arises because life cycle skill formation is dynamic
in nature.
What we've learned is that skill begets skill,
motivation begets motivation.
Motivation cross fosters skill, and cross skill
cross fosters motivation.
So a healthy child, free of asthma and lead poisoning,
is a child ready to engage who will learn more and is more
likely to be a productive adult.
If a child is not motivated and engaged to learn early in life,
the more likely it is that when the child becomes an adult,
he or she will not succeed in economic and social life.
So the longer society learns to intervene in the life of a
disadvantaged child, the more costly it
is to remediate disadvantaged.
So returns to early childhood programs,
especially those targeted toward the disadvantaged, are so high.
Because they build the cognitive social and emotional,
physical and mental capabilities that create success in schools
and in workplaces.
They give disadvantaged children some of the advantages already
conferred on middle-class and upper middle-class children,
including important social and emotional skills and health.
Acquisition of these early foundational skills has been
shown to increase school persistence which in turn
substantially increases productivity.
So for example, what we've learned is that if a child
is motivated and bright, the return to a college education,
given that the skill base has been established,
is as high as 20% for per anum, at a very high rate of return.
But we can build a skill base that creates the opportunity
for all to achieve that return.
Enriched family and social environments can create the
skills that produce the capabilities that promote
adult success.
A major refocus of public policy is required to capitalize on the
importance of early years and creating opportunity
and building capabilities and producing skills for
the workforce.
So the early challenge today, launched today,
is a critical first step in recognizing the importance of
the early years and in helping states, local communities,
private organizations, and public institutions work
together to build early childhood development
systems that will promote better education, health,
social and economic outcomes for all and for many years to come.
Thank you very much.
Jacqueline Jones: Thank you.
And now it's my pleasure to introduce Barbara Bowman.
It's interesting because I don't know that in this room I have to
introduce Barbara Bowman.
Barbara is of course the Irving Harris professor of early
childhood education at the Erikson Institute and the
chief officer of the early childhood programs for the
Chicago Public Schools.
But she's much more than that.
She's been a force of nature for the field.
Barbara has been out there as an advocate and a scholar and a
researcher and a great lover of children and families.
And she has really shaped the field in ways that we are so
grateful for today.
So it is my pleasure -- this is also long before she was
Valerie's mother.
So it's my pleasure to introduce Barbara Bowman.
Barbara Bowman: Thank you very much.
Secretary Sebelius, Secretary Duncan, fellow child advocates,
I am absolutely delighted to be here today.
I was in Washington several years ago when the initiative
began to be talked about.
I see some of our coconspirators here in the front row.
I have some idea of how complex a job this was in putting
together and how hard you must have worked.
So my congratulations to all of you who worked on this.
I would like to tell you a little bit about why I am so
pleased to be here today and to have an opportunity to share
with you my assessment of this initiative.
First of all, the initiative -- with this initiative the
Department of Education is making good on Jim Heckman's
message and the message that the investment in preschool
education today predicts social and economic benefits
years later.
Follow up studies on children who attended high school,
ABeCeDarian and the Chicago child parent centers shows that
early education starts a chain reaction that lasts for years.
For many children, early childhood
programs are essential.
And failure to provide them has serious developmental and
educational risks.
And we have excellent evidence of the benefits for all children
of early education.
Race to the Top announces this loudly,
that education is good for children and we need to make
it available in the care and education systems of
our country.
The second reason that I'm pleased is that this initiative
is being sponsored by two departments,
Education and Health and Human Services,
both concerned about the well being of children and families.
The early learning systems that these departments work with
affect large numbers of American children.
More than half of the three and four year olds spend some of
their day in the child care or early education system.
Yet for generations, these services have been badly
fragmented, often with conflicting funding pattern,
staffing patterns, and expectations for
children's learning.
There are appalling glitches in the public systems that
have made life more difficult for families
and less educational for children.
Race to the Top is designed to encourage states to find ways
for Head Start, child care, state funded pre-schools and
state funded education to work together to smooth out the
wrinkles in and between systems.
This doesn't mean that every service in every state has to
do exactly the same things.
There are a variety of different ways to solve these problems.
But it does mean that they need to find ways to work together
toward a common goal, the education of young children.
Race to the Top is an initiative that will offer multiple
opportunities of how this can be done.
The third reason to be pleased is that Race to the Top
recognizes the importance of education in the lives
of young children.
School failure is one of the most pernicious challenges to
children's well being.
Getting off to the right start is essential.
It is just common sense that if children do not have the skills
and knowledge they need, they are likely to fail.
But some programs do not know what the early learning
standards are or how or feel responsible for meeting them.
The partnership between Education and Health and Human
Services signals to all there is no conflict between the goals of
early education and those of Head Start, special education,
and child care.
All children will enroll in kindergarten,
and they all need to be prepared.
Academic goals are no more but no less important than health,
care giving, and social services.
Our children need them all.
But early education is not a vaccination.
We cannot assume that just because children go to preschool
they will automatically do well in school.
We need two additional things; ready schools
and ready children.
For me, ready schools not only have high academic standards
lined across the 12 grade levels,
but they also work to be sure that all children are getting
ready to meet them.
This means they're working with early childhood programs and
parents to explain their standards and what children
need to know and do to meet them.
Ready schools also have ready teachers,
teachers who understand that young children develop in unique
ways and that they come from diverse families and
communities, and they know how to manage these differences.
Ready schools also have teachers that are supported and know how
to do their job.
And ready schools also provide extra services some children
need; RTI, special education, before and after school
programs, social services, and access to healthcare are equally
important in K-12 as they are in preschool.
And of course they also need ready children.
The achievement gap is testimony to how hard it is to change the
failing trajectory when children start off behind.
Children need to achieve their developmental potential,
like learning language.
But they also need to learn the specific language of school;
things like Standard English and reading
readiness and number concepts.
Let me be clear.
Most children at risk of school failure are developmentally
competent in their own homes and communities,
but they just may not have learned the specific things
they need for school.
Thus a child may know Spanish and Black English but not
standard English.
A child may know how to cross the street but not how to listen
to the teacher.
Early education accepts what children bring with them,
what they have already learned, and then teaches them what they
need for school.
Ready children also need qualified teachers,
teachers who are trained in how to manage and support a
classroom of vigorous three and four year olds,
but also how to plan an intentional curriculum,
aligned with kindergarten standards.
In some instances, it may be the same teacher doing both tasks.
In other instances, there may be differentiated staffing.
The important thing is that children have a well rounded
program, offering them multiple opportunities to learn.
Luckily, we know a lot about how to design programs
for young children.
Numerous models have proven successful,
from Reggie Omelia to district instruction.
Programs will need to assess to find out the curricula that
works best for their children.
But both the departments of education and Health and Human
Services have robust research arms,
well able to point directions.
Scientists, economists, educator, policy gurus, parents,
and just plain folks know that early education is important to
our national future.
Race to the Top is a step toward acting on this knowledge.
Thank you.
Jacqueline Jones: I think we have a few minutes left for questions.
First of all, I want to thank both Dr. Heckman
and Dr. Bowman.
So would you just give them a round of applause and thank them
so much for being here.
Secretary Sebelius: Before we get to questions, I want to make sure and recognize
one more leader we have in this room, our fearless leader at the
administration for children and families, George Sheldon,
who comes with a great passion for early childhood education --
it's within of his top priorities -- is here.
And he had the great opportunity to not only work with Joan but
to pass the baton now to Linda.
So I just wanted to make sure that folks knew George was here.
Jacqueline Jones: So let's open it up for a little bit of conversation.
We have mics, and anyone want to start?
Questions, comments?
Audience Member: The funding stream of which you spoke --
Speaker: There's a microphone coming.
Audience Member: Is it?
Jacqueline Jones: Yes.
Audience Member: Thank you. Thank you.
The funding stream of which you spoke -- and I would just like
to acknowledge that I'm representing Queen Anne's
County Maryland.
And we are so thankful that we were part of the challenge
and a winner.
Thank you.
The funding stream, is it underway currently?
Or is it something to which we're looking forward?
Jacqueline Jones: The funding stream for this competition?
I'm not sure --
Audience Member: It sounds to me as though more funds might be coming our way,
additional support funds for our pre-K programs
and early childhood.
Jacqueline Jones: So the funding stream for this competition,
the funds will be obligated at the end of this month and you
will have -- it's a four-year grant.
And you will be on your way for four years of hard work.
And we'll be watching.
And we are hopeful that there will be additional funding,
as we are always hopeful.
Audience Member: Thank you.
Jacqueline Jones: Anymore more questions, comments?
This is not a shy audience.
Audience Member: No.
Jacqueline Jones: Okay. Yes?
Audience Member: My name is Deborah Gist.
I'm the Commissioner of Education in the State
of Rhode Island.
Yes. And we are just so incredibly excited.
So I just want to thank the leadership,
everyone who worked to pull this together.
I think that the partnership between the two agencies is
something that many of us who've been in education for a long
time have just been so impressed to watch come together.
And this acknowledgment from the administration to the importance
of early childhood education is encouraging.
And I can assure you that we will use these funds well and
make sure that the littlest Rhode Islanders are having an
excellent experience that's going to prepare them well for
school and life.
Audience Member: Thank you. Thank you.
Secretary Sebelius: Jacqueline? Jacqueline? Can I --
As a former governor one of the things I hope you and Maryland
and the other seven states who are winners will take very
seriously is the opportunity and hopefully the responsibility to
really share what you know and what you're going to learn with
colleagues around the country.
I think the fact that we had 37 states participate in putting
grants together, we're eager to have this funding,
indicates the level of activity around the country.
But I can tell you, folks are really looking
for best practices.
So one of the things that is very exciting is not only
highlighting the nine states who are ready to go on comprehensive
programs but then adding that expertise to states who were
really just not as far ahead but want to know the best way to use
their resources to do the best job possible for their
youngest kids.
So I think it's both not only nine states are being funded,
but the ripple effect throughout the country can be huge.
Jacqueline Jones: Dr. Day.
Audience Member: Carol Brunson Day.
I'm with National Black Child Development Institute.
Secretary Sebelius, my comment actually was in line with what
you just said.
We are hoping that as organizations that support the
progress in early childhood across the country,
that we can do some things that will contribute to proliferating
what we learn through the work of these nine states.
And so we hope that the departments will continue
to keep that in mind and be able to provide tools and information
sources and help us help this work have
impact -- impact across the country.
Secretary Duncan: Please hold us accountable for that.
And I would just add -- reiterate what I said earlier.
That on the previous two rounds of Race to the Top;
we have honestly seen as much progress and reform in states
that didn't get a nickel from us as states we funded.
So I'm not just looking at these nine to move.
Thirty-seven states now have a road map.
They have a game plan.
And we anticipate great, great reform there as well.
So these nine can be an absolute beacon,
but we're looking for great progress from other states that
worked so hard to put together great plans
for their own children.
Audience Member: Hi. Thank you.
This is Lisa Guernsey, the Early Education Initiative
and the New America foundation.
I was just wondering if any of you up there, perhaps Dr. Jones,
could speak to what put it over the top for the nine states that
were winners.
There are many states that have been doing a better job of
coordinating between Head Start and child care and others that
aren't in that list.
So I'm just wondering if we might be able to speak a little
bit to that.
Jacqueline Jones: I think what you want to do is, one,
this afternoon; take a look at these applications and all the
information we're going to have on our web,
the reviewer's scores and comments.
But you know, this was an opportunity for states to tell
us, their very best shot, at what kind of vision they had for
putting things together.
And so we were looking at the quality of the programs they
were planning, the quality of those plans,
and how they had implemented plans before.
So I think there's so much diversity across the country,
so many different kinds of plans.
There isn't one recipe that we were looking for at all.
We were looking for that vision.
We were looking for things that had been implemented.
And I think everybody stepped up to the plate and really did the
best they could to pull together in ways that they had never
pulled together before.
So I know, Lisa, you will be looking at those reviewer's
scores and looking at those applications.
And we'll have lots of conversation around that.
We have time for one more question.
I saw a hand.
Audience Member: Hi, my name is that Flora Gee.
And I am a child care center director in Greenbelt, Maryland.
And I brought a parent with me and a teacher with me today.
I'm also a lifelong member of NAEYC.
And so I'm really excited, not only for my state,
I'm really excited about the collaboration that I'm hearing
that will happen between states.
Because I know Maryland has already reached out
to other states.
But I'm really happy that for once people are understanding
that child care is education, because for a long time I think
that there's been a misunderstanding.
A lot of young children spend their day in child care.
Child care is education.
And there needs to be a lot of collaboration locally too.
We need to get child care in public schools and parents.
Everybody needs to be involved.
And I think this is a wonderful first step.
And I am so very happy to be here this morning.
Jacqueline Jones: Thank you so much.
So I want to thank everyone in the audience,
the folks who've been looking at our live stream.
And just to know that 37 winners have really been doing some hard
work in putting these plans together.
We're thrilled.
Thank you so much for doing this.