Maryland is one of nine states that won a total of $500 million in a competition for federal grants to improve early childhood education, Obama administration officials announced Friday.
The state’s share will be about $50 million over four years, which will help pay for a number of measures meant to ensure that more children — especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds — enter kindergarten with skills they need to succeed.
“We see that when kids come into school with considerable deficiencies, their chance to catch up is very slim,” said Rolf Grafwallner, assistant state superintendent for early childhood development. “We’re going to give the children that are at risk a fighting chance to make it before they start school.”
Maryland already guarantees publicly funded preschool to needy 4-year-olds and has long been seen as a leader in early childhood education. The grant will help the state focus on bolstering the quality of day care and other programs for younger children.