Dear friends,

We hope that sometime between breakfast at Wimbledon and the rockets’ red glare you squeezed in last weekend’s most exciting activity: poring over the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge draft requirements, posted by the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services last Friday and available here. If you’re in summer reading mode and taking your time with that very dense 22-page draft, we can offer you FFYF’s handy-dandy guide to the highlights.

Because I’m sure every last one of you is a former honor student, I trust that you won’t rely solely on the notes, and that you’ll get your homework finished on time. I will, however, gently remind you of that deadline: all comments on the draft requirements are due Monday, July 11, by 5:00 pm Eastern time.

There’s a lot to digest and process as we assess how this competition will be administered, but, don’t forget that there’s a lot to applaud too. This outline for the RTT – ELC is a bold and comprehensive vision focused on delivering better outcomes for children through effective and efficient programs. So, while we’re all posing questions and seeking clarifications, we should all be sure to note what we like about vision and want to continue to see in the final application. Everybody, even federal bureaucrats, likes to know when they’re earning top marks! We’ll be doing this assignment, too — follow our blog as we share kudos and suggest ways ELC can be even stronger.

One final quick note: your governor has a homework assignment too. Yesterday, USDE and HHS sent a letter to governors requesting that they file an optional and non-binding notice of their intent to apply for the RTT-ELC by July 15. This deadline could be a good opportunity for you to reach out to your governor’s office and continue conversations about their plans. We hope you hear good news, and that you’ll feel free to come to us with any questions or concerns you have about your very important homework.

Cornelia and the FFYF team