Governor outlines plan to improve early learning without federal grant

Governor Matt Mead has announced that Wyoming will move forward on efforts to boost early childhood learning without applying for a federal grant. Governor Mead had looked into the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant, but decided not to pursue this federal funding any further.

“I recognize there are needs when it comes to preparing our children to succeed in school and I am committed to working to ensure that Wyoming’s children are successful in kindergarten and beyond,” Governor Mead said. “We will look for other means to achieve this within state government, at the present time. But, we do not need to ask the federal government for millions of dollars until we need it and we would spend it to maximum effect.”

Governor Mead said that the process of drafting the grant application was valuable and was part of the reason he asked the state to pursue a grant application. “We identified differences and similarities in the way that state agencies are delivering services to our youngest children. A comprehensive approach to school readiness was identified and we will now look at how to utilize existing resources to carry the efforts forward.”

Governor Mead reaffirmed his charge to members of the Wyoming Early Childhood State Advisory Council. “Going forward, state efforts to support early childhood education in Wyoming should be focused on providing high quality early learning programs. And I want these to promote early literacy skills and other cornerstones necessary for success in school and life.”

During this process Governor Mead identified some of his goals for moving forward:

• Capitalize on the dedication and commitment of state agencies to improve the delivery of services to young children. Utilize PTAC (Planning Team for At-Risk Children) in an advisory capacity to move initiatives forward.

• Discover ways to increase access to high quality early learning programs.

Align research, practice, and policy of all stakeholders so that all children are poised to succeed in kindergarten.

“It is apparent to me that if we can support parents and recognize that education starts well before the first day of kindergarten we’ll be ahead of the game,” Governor Mead said.