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Community Groups May be Beneficiaries of Preschool Development Grants

Arlington, Va.

The $250 million for "preschool development grants" approved in the recent congressional budget deal could end up going to states that would then distribute the money to community-based organizations, said Libby Doggett, the deputy assistant secretary for policy and early learning, at a two-day legislative policy forum sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of Education. 

Doggett said that the details of the competitive-grant program are still being ironed out—the department has solicited suggestions on its blog, and plans to gather more comments at a March 20 public forum that will be livestreamed.

(Written comments are also being accepted; the details for how to do so can be found here.)

Tentative plans are for the money to be distributed among four to seven states, some of which might have long-standing early-education programs, and some that may be in the early stages of developing a state system, Doggett told state board members.

"We really want to build state capacity," she said, adding that the money would also be used to support strengthening early-childhood standards and strong family engagement. 

The department has said that this $250 million grant program will be distinct from previous Race To The Top-Early Learning Challenge grants, which to this point have provided about $1 billion to 20 states. 

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