Missouri education officials voted Tuesday to pursue a $60 million federal grant for early childhood education over the objections of a group of state lawmakers.
The vote gives Missouri?s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education permission to apply for the grant, which would come from the federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge program. The money would be used to improve the quality of the state?s early learning systems, particularly for low-income families, according to Kathy Thornburg, assistant commissioner for the Office of Early and Extended Learning for the state education department.
One of the requirements for receiving that money would be creating a rating system for childcare providers. The purpose of the rating system, Thornburg said, is to evaluate the quality of childcare centers in order to assist those who need help to improve.
Last week, state Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, sponsored a resolution demanding that the state Board of Education to "cease and desist from taking any further action on the application."