In 2011, the Obama Administration announced that $500 million would be dedicated to a competition between states to improve early education. The Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) was designed to spur states to create holistic, coordinated early care and education systems (including players like childcare centers, Head Start, state-funded pre-k programs, and home-visiting programs) to close the school-readiness gap.

The idea for the competition came from a proposal that emerged from an Obama Administration budget request in 2009 and was first introduced in Congress by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) that year. In 2012, the RTT-ELC competition continued at a reduced level: $133 million available to five “runner-up” states that didn’t win in 2011; in 2013, it provided $370 million for another competition.

See also: New America Foundation blog posts on RTT-ELC