Public Comment Sought for New Preschool Development Grants Competition

Updated May 18, 2014: Thank you to those who submitted comments on the draft executive summary for each of the Development Grants competition and the Expansion Grants competition. We will consider this public input as we develop competition requirements, priorities, and selection criteria for a notice inviting applications, which will be published in the Federal Register later this summer.

Posted May 5, 2014

A Recording and Slides from May 12, 2014 Technical Assistance Webinar Now Available

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services held an informational technical assistance Webinar on the jointly-administered Preschool Development Grants competition on Monday, May 12th, from 3:00-4:00p.m. EDT. Listen and watch the webinar and download the slides.

The data source the Departments used to develop funding bands has been added to the “Award Information” section of the Executive Summaries:  U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2012.  A chart can be found under Resources on the Preschool Development Grants Web page.

Thank you for your interest in the Preschool Development Grants competition, which will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services (ED, HHS, or Departments). The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Appropriations Act) provides $250 million for a new competition to support efforts to build, develop, and expand voluntary, high-quality preschool programs.  Competition requirements, priorities, and selection criteria will be developed consistent with the language in the Appropriations Act and accompanying report language, which can be found here.

The Preschool Development Grants competition will prepare more States to become ready to participate in the proposed Preschool for All program in the Department of Education’s FY2015 budget request.  Recent and longstanding research indicates that children who attend high-quality preschool programs achieve significant, positive short- and long-term outcomes, and the return on investment that results from attending high-quality preschool programs is overwhelmingly clear. There is tremendous unmet need for high-quality early learning programs. Only 40 percent of eligible children have access to Head Start. Less than one-third of all four-year-olds are enrolled in State-funded preschool programs.

States and communities are looking for ways to expand access to high-quality early learning opportunities. Last year, 30 governors from both parties increased funding for preschool in their State budgets. Preschool Development Grants can help States and communities meet their goals and the needs of families and children.

All States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico will be eligible to apply, if they wish, for one of two proposed types of discretionary grants: Development Grants and Expansion Grants.  States with small or no State-funded preschool programs will be eligible to apply for Development Grants.  States that have more robust State-funded preschool programs or that have been awarded a Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant will be eligible to apply for Expansion Grants.  We intend for high-quality preschool programs to be located in regionally diverse communities or consortia of communities in cities, towns, counties, neighborhood, districts, rural or tribal areas, with a high level of need or distress as determined by the State.  Preschool programs funded under either category of the Preschool Development Grants will need to meet the competition’s criteria for high-quality preschool programs. Other preschool programs within the State will not be required to meet these criteria.

In order to run a rigorous competition and obligate funds to grantees before the December 31, 2014, statutory deadline, we will waive rulemaking for this new program, pursuant to authority in section 1232(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions Act.  However, we are interested in your input on major elements of the program, and already have received over five hundred comments on our Web site pertaining to the new competition.

We have considered these ideas, suggestions, and comments in developing the draft requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions in the executive summary for each of the Development Grants competition and the Expansion Grants competition, which are now posted for review and comment by the public.  In commenting on these documents, we encourage potential applicants to identify potential barriers and challenges that may impede implementation of an ambitious and achievable, high-quality State plan.

These documents will be posted for public input until 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, May 16, 2014, at which time the input section will be closed and we will begin considering comments received as we develop final requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions.  We will also be holding a webinar to review the executive summaries.  Further information will be posted on the Preschool Development Grant Web page. We will publish these requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions in a notice inviting applications in the Federal Register later this summer.

This is a moderated site; all comments will be reviewed before they are posted.  We reserve the right not to post comments that are unrelated to the Preschool Development Grants competition, are inconsistent with ED’s Web site policies, are advertisements or endorsements, or are otherwise inappropriate.  Please do not include links to advertisements or endorsements, as we will delete them before we post your comments.  Additionally, to protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses in the body of your comments as the comments will be publicly available for others to review.  For more information, please be sure to read the “comments policy.” We intend to post all responsive submissions on a timely basis.

Please understand that posts must be related to the Preschool Development Grants Program, and should be as specific as possible.  If you include a link to additional information in your post, we urge you to ensure that the linked information is accessible to all individuals, including individuals with disabilities.  Each post must be limited to 1,000 words.  All opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments are considered informal input and may or may not be reflected in the final Preschool Development Grants competition requirements, priorities, selection criteria, or definitions, established in the final Preschool Development Grants notice inviting applications. ED and HHS will not respond to any posts.

Again, thank you for your interest in this opportunity to support early learning.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Note to reader: Defined terms are used throughout this document and are identified using initial capitalization.  Definitions are provided later in the document.

Department of Education’s linking policy

Department of Education’s disclaimer of endorsement

Click the links below for Development Grants Executive Summary or Expansion Grants Executive Summary and download and read the executive summary. On the chosen Executive Summary page, click “Add a New Comment” at the bottom of the screen and add your comment. Please note that the Application Requirements, Program Requirements, and Definitions are the same for both Executive Summaries. In these and additional areas where the language is the same, you do not need to make your comments in each Executive Summary (Development Grants and Expansion Grants). Please indicate in your comments the area in which you are addressing.

Development Grants Executive Summary

A Development Grant is to support a State with a small or no State-Funded Preschool Program to—

  • Develop or enhance preschool program infrastructure and capacity to deliver High-Quality Preschool Programs; and
  • Implement and sustain High-Quality Preschool Programs to reach and serve additional Eligible Children in one or more High-Need Communities.

Expansion Grants Executive Summary

An Expansion Grant is to support a State with a State-Funded Preschool Program OR that has received a Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant to—

  • Implement and sustain High-Quality Preschool Programs to reach and serve additional Eligible Children in two or more High-Need Communities; and
  • Enhance preschool program infrastructure and make quality improvements to deliver High-Quality Preschool Programs.