A continuation of our predictions of big issues for 2011...
In the next few months, the U.S. Department of Education will officially open its Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy competition. States will be able to apply for awards worth up to $30 million. In November, the department held a public meeting on how the grant program, which is intended for programs serving children from birth through 12th grade, should be designed. (Copies of the slide presentations are now available.) The program, which we describe here, already restricts to 15 percent the amount of money that can be used in programs for the youngest learners (birth to age 5). It also is designed to allow states to distribute subgrants to local districts under certain guidelines.
What remains to be teased out is how it might be able to boost literacy programs that span the pre-k through 3rd grade years without instilling yet greater divisions between what happens in pre-k and what happens in the early grades of elementary school. It’s also unclear exactly how this funding may help or hurt national literacy programs that typically work with school districts as opposed to a state’s department of education.
Meanwhile, three other grant competitions -- Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation (i3) and Promise Neighborhoods – are now moving into the implementation phase. Will the winning states, districts and non-profit organizations be able to follow through on what they have promised?
Next Up: Hot Spot #6, Tax Reform