Commissioner’s Update – Dec. 22, 2011

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Disappointing, yes. But not a show-stopper.

In fact, we scheduled a press conference to announce the results of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant without knowing if we would be one of the states chosen or not. That’s because we knew we had a good plan and we were going to pursue it whether or not we got the federal funds.

Our comprehensive plan calls for enhancing our quality rating system of early childhood programs, working more closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and others in the field, and increasing access to quality early childhood programs, especially for lower-income families.

Even with our respectable score in the review, we were not one of the nine states chosen by the U.S. Department of Education and so we’ll have to move more slowly to implement our plan (we won’t be able to hire the trainers and provide the technical assistance we’d hoped for as soon as we’d hoped). But we will be moving forward in our newly strengthened collaboration with DHHS and will continue the work of defining quality and developing improvements to our quality rating system.

The evidence is clear on the importance of quality early childhood learning experiences for kids. With or without the grant, we are committed to moving forward.

Please note: There will be no Commissioner’s Update on Dec. 29. The next Update will be published next year, on Jan. 5. Happy holidays and vaction to all!

— Stephen Bowen



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Two Auburn Middle School eighth graders were recently honored at the Blaine House for their contributions to the current Maine Youth Excellence in Art exhibit, which is on display in state offices until January. | More

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