A majority of states—thirty plus Puerto Rico—are interested in the U.S. Department of Education’s new Preschool Development Grant program, which is aimed at helping states beef up and expand their early childhood offerings. States had until late last week to submit an “intent to apply” with the department.
The “intent to apply” notices aren’t a prerequisite for an application—which are officially due October 14—but they give the administration some sense of who is interested and who isn’t.
The upshot? States and districts may be somewhat weary of competitive grants, but the early childhood education money seems to be garnering a lot of interest.
Seven states—Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and New Hampshire—plus, Puerto Rico, raised their hand for a slice of the $80 million in"development” grants, which are intended for states who are just getting started when it comes to early childhood. Overall, 15 states plus Puerto Rico are considered eligible for that category. (We originally included Utah on the list of states that filed an intent to apply because it was among the states listed in a press release sent out by the Education Department. But the Beehive State is not on this more recently updated list of states who have expressed interest in the grants. The updated list can be found on the Education Department’s website.)
And 23 states, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia, said they are planning to make a play for a piece of the $160 million pie intended for “expansion” grants, which are aimed at states that already have robust state early childhood education programs, or have already won one of the department’s Race to the Top Early Learning grants. Overall, 35 states and the District of Columbia are eligible to compete for “development” grants.
Notably, the two states who are considered national leaders on universal pre-kindergarten, Georgia and Oklahoma, haven’t said they are interested in the additional funds to expand their programs even further—they are not on the “intent to apply” list.