On March 10, the U.S. Department of Education sent an email announcing that Striving Readers grant applications are now available electronically. Though Striving Readers had long focused on K-12, recently the Department changed tack to encourage early literacy efforts to apply for funds. Although fiscal year 2011 funds for the program were eliminated in the current budget resolution, the department is moving forward with fiscal 2010 funds. It is also possible the funds could be reinstated in a final budget by the application deadline, May 9. But my colleagues at Ed Week report that the cuts call into question the Obama administration’s commitment to literacy. I’m guessing states aren’t expending the effort to apply given the dim prospects of funding, thus the email pitch from the feds.
In the same email, the department invited comment on its proposed priorities for the Promise Neighborhoods competition, which has also been subject to budget tug-of-war. The department wants to give priority to grantees who develop a plan “to expand, enhance, or modify an existing network of early learning programs and services to ensure that they are high-quality and comprehensive for children from birth through the third grade. The plan must also ensure that the network establishes a high standard of quality across early learning settings and is designed to improve health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes of young children.” For more about Promise Neighborhoods’ proposed priorities, look here.
Comments on Promise Neighborhoods should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact Jill Staton at the same email address.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.