Read the headlines about the federal government’s early education competitions among states, and you might think there is only one game in town: the Early Learning Challenge that is part of Obama’s signature education reform initiative, Race to the Top.
But three other statewide grants could also have an impact on children’s learning in early childhood from birth through third grade: Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grants; Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grants; and the original Race to the Top, which is labeled a K-12 program and therefore explicitly includes the K-3 grades and could implicitly impact public schools’ pre-K programs as well.
Each of these state grants requires coordination among already-publicly funded programs. When a state has won multiple grants, coordination will be necessary, not only internally within the programs funded under one grant, but also externally between programs funded by multiple grants. Keeping everyone in the loop will be critical to making sure money isn’t wasted and efforts aren’t duplicated.
Is there any state that has won all four? No. But among the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) winners, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the three states that have also won at least two other competitions. Here’s a table showing how the states stack up when looked through the lens of RTT-ELC:
The above table is adapted from a presentation given at the Harvard PreK-3rd Institute in May, “Federal Actions and PreK-3rd: Where, How and Why They Should Fit Together.” The table has been updated to include 2012 winners of home visiting grants.
Not one of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge states won a grant in the Striving Readers program, which was designed in 2010 to spur states to create initiatives that foster early literacy and reading skills from birth through 12th grade. The Striving Readers program wasn’t funded for fiscal year 2011, but the six winners receiving grants funded with 2010 money include Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The Striving Readers program is the only state-level grant program run by the U.S. Department of Education that reaches down to the infant and toddler years while also aiming to assist elementary, middle and high school students. We don’t have an explanation for why there is no overlap between RTT-ELC states and Striving Readers states, and we shouldn’t read too much into this with just a year’s worth of information. But it’s worth watching to see patterns evolving over time. (The federal budget for 2012 includes money for another Striving Readers competition but there isn’t yet any sign of it on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.)
Of the Striving Readers winners, Georgia is the only state that also won a Race to the Top K-12 grant and a MIECHV grant. In other words, it too is a triple winner along with aforementioned Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Four other Striving Readers states are also winners of the MIECHV grants: Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Montana and Texas.
Stay tuned. Five more states are now vying for grants from the 2012 RTT-ELC competitions and the MIECHV grant program is funded until 2015, though it’s unclear what would happen if the Supreme Court this week strikes down the part of the healthcare law that authorizes it. Also, the Senate Appropriations Committee recently voted to keep funding the Striving Readers program in 2013. We’ll keep you posted.
Also see the federal government's lists of recent winners of MIECHV grants, winners of RTT K-12 grants, winners of RTT-ELC grants and winners of Striving Readers grants.