Kentucky officials say they want to make the state's voluntary rating system for childcare facilities mandatory and they will have help in the amount of $44 million to do it.
That’s the amount of money Kentucky won as part of the federal government’s Race to the Top grant competition for early childhood education. It's the third round of such funding provided by the the U.S. Department of Education with help from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Six states are winners from a pool of 17 applicants.
Kentucky's proposal says it will mandate the now voluntary Stars for Kids Now rating system, link its data systems supporting early childhood education and offer more parent workshops across the state.
The Stars program follows national best practices to rate the quality of preschool programs, but most choose not to use it.
The proposal says around 1,000 childcare providers participate in the voluntary rating system, which is fewer than half. The goals laid out say all public and private programs will eventually be rated and a certain percentage will have a high rating.
Research suggests that quality childcare and preschool programming can have lasting effects that help struggling students stay on track in school.
The six states will share $280 million. Other winners include Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Vermont.