- Alabama, considered a leader in providing public pre-K, and Idaho, where state officials have been reluctant to use public dollars for early-childhood education, have announced they are among the states receiving a federal Preschool Development Grant, Birth-to-5, to improve the quality and supply of early learning programs.
- Alabama is one of 20 states expected to receive a renewal grant, while Idaho, along with Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico will receive planning grants, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Linda Smith, who received the list from officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- The awards follow the final passage in Congress Thursday of a spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 that includes $275 million for the early learning program, an increase of $25 million from FY 2019. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, which Smith says could mean at least three additional states receive funding.
Part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the PDG program is jointly administered by both the U.S. Department of Education and HHS. Recipients of renewal grants now have three years to implement the strategic plans they have worked on over the past year.
The other renewal grant recipients are expected to be Oregon, Virginia, Washington, Georgia, Minnesota, Illinois, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, Missouri, Colorado, Maryland, New York, New Hampshire, Michigan, California and New Jersey.
Last year, 44 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands received PDG funds to conduct a needs assessment and develop strategic plans for addressing gaps they identified.
“As we continue to grow our First Class Pre-K program, we must also expand its learning methods and best practices from birth through 3rd grade,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a press release about the state’s $33 million grant.
In Idaho, which will receive $3.3 million, Gov. Brad Little has indicated the state will focus on early literacy development.