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Wisconsin lands $22.7M in federal "Race to the Top" education grants


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - After more than three years of trying, Wisconsin is finally getting a competitive federal education grant.

The White House said Thursday that the Badger State is one of five that will share $133 million to expand early learning programs, and improve their quality. Governor Scott Walker’s office said Wisconsin would get $22.7 million over a four-year period as part of the Education Department’s “Race to the Top” program.

Walker’s office said the funding would improve the YoungStar rating system for child care centers, to help parents of high-risk youngsters find the right care for them. The funding also seeks to help day care facilities improve their YoungStar ratings, and get parents more involved in improving their children’s early learning and development.

Walker said the grant would also help build a service delivery system for early learning programs, involving the state Departments of Public Instruction, Children and Families, and Health Services.

The governor’s office said it would help create more uniform standards for programs like YoungStar, Head Start, and 4-year-old kindergarten.

The Obama White House started the “Race to the Top” program in 2009, offering federal stimulus dollars to states that design the most effective educational reforms.

Wisconsin has had several grant requests rejected.