So-called “place-based strategies” have been gaining attention for their cross-cutting approaches to delivering housing, education and healthcare in a particular neighborhood or geographic area. The aim is to identify gaps in funding and avoid duplicating efforts. While it is premature to say that the approach is making a difference for young children, it is not too early to examine how various communities are using place-based funds and combining resources from different place-based programs.
One source is a progress reportreleased this week from the U.S. Department of Education on its own efforts to implement the place-based approach formalized by the Obama administration in its 2010 Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The progress report cites a series of partnerships that federal agencies have formed to realize the initiative’s goals: Promise Neighborhoods grants coupled with Choice Neighborhoods housing redevelopment grants and Performance Partnerships and No Child Left Behind waivers that offer local communities greater flexibility, to name a few. The department is also working to develop a data toolthat would better depict the full range of federal programs in a community.
The department’s proposal for a Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) competition, unveiled two weeks ago, will provide more fodder for debate on the effectiveness of these place-based strategies. Given the competition’s nascent state, RTT-D was mentioned only in passing in the department’s progress report. But it will be interesting to see how school districts may be able to combine with private organizations to create a more cross-cutting approach to services to students and their families. The Department of Education has asked for comments by tomorrow, June 8, by 5 p.m. EDT. Submissions are being gathered on the Ed.gov site here. The Early Education Initiative and several other groups that focus on PreK-3rd approaches to education will be submitting recommendations. We’ll keep you posted.
For more context on place-based strategies, check out this week’s postfrom our sister blog, Ed Money Watch.