Sixteen regional "consortia" made up of early-childhood providers and other groups like school districts and county offices of education will devise local rating systems based on guidelines provided by the state, said Camille Maben, the director of the child-development division in the California Department of Education.
The state's standards, or "foundations," for infant, toddler, and preschooler development, must be incorporated into the local rating systems, including those that are specific to young English-language learners.
The local systems must also use a school-readiness tool that relies on observations of new kindergartners to determine how they are doing in math, language and literacy, and social and emotional development.
Those observations will also grade how well the early-childhood programs that students participated in prepared them.
The local consortia will largely decide which standards must be met before providers can move from one quality tier to the next in the rating systems, Ms. Maben
But questions about the long-term budget stability and sustainability of the new early-childhood initiatives hang over California more than any other winning state.
The state has been mired in a fiscal crisis for five years, a situation that has subjected early-childhood programs to deep spending cuts, Ms. Maben
It is also the only winning state to be awarded less money than it requested, having received $53 million of its $100 million request.
That has prompted a few of the local consortia to reconsider their participation, Ms. Maben
"Even with less money to work with, I'll be surprised if any of them decides not to go forward," she