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New York not among Race to the Top early-learning winners

When the Obama administration announces winners of the second Race to the Top competition later today, New York will not be on the list.

That’s according to the Associated Press, which reports that nine states are sharing the $500 million in funding for early childhood programs. Those states are California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, a source at the U.S. Department of Education told the AP.

Being shut out means New York will not get federal funding to build a “kindergarten readiness measurement tool” — or a test that all children would take when they enter school. The state had been eligible to receive as much as $100 million.

The nine winners are culled from 35 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that applied for the federal funds this fall.

Six of them were among the 12 winners of last year’s first Race to the Top round, which rewarded states for changing charter school and teacher evaluation policies and building new education data systems. New York won nearly $700 million in that competition, but implementation of at least some of its promised programs has been held up because of union battles, in the case of new teacher evaluations, and contract problems, in the case of a statewide data system that is more than a year behind schedule.

In its “Early Learning Challenge” application, New York had promised to rate early childhood programs and develop the kindergarten readiness test. Some of the state’s promises, such as including preschool in Common Core standards, will go forward even without the federal funds. But others are likely to be derailed.

And even without the new funding, New York will be on the hook to ensure quality among Head Start programs: A new Obama administration initiative requires the federally funded pre-kindergarten programs to reapply for funding. A similar initiative in New York City called EarlyLearn affects all child care centers that receive city funds.