Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Loses in Competition for Federal Preschool Grants

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Loses in Competition for Federal Preschool Grants

Article excerpt

Early childhood education advocates in Pittsburgh remain committed to finding a way to ensure high-quality preschool for all despite losing a federal competition that could have brought as much as $20 million a year statewide to Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday announced that 18 states will share more than $226 million in Preschool Development Grants. Pennsylvania was one of 18 applicants that didn't make the list.

The announcement came the same day the White House hosted a summit on early childhood education. Speakers included Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

Noting 27 percent of city residents live in poverty, Mr. Peduto told the group that early childhood education is "probably the most important issue" of being able to break the cycle of poverty. He said Pittsburgh has made progress working in partnership with a variety of stakeholders, highlighting the Pittsburgh Promise, which offers college scholarships to city public high school graduates, and his blue ribbon panel on early childhood education.

At a meeting of mayors a year ago when he was mayor-elect, Mr. Peduto asked President Barack Obama to consider making Pittsburgh a model for universal preschool. This time, Mr. Peduto said he talked with Mr. Obama about the early childhood programs of the Heinz Endowments and PNC's Grow Up Great.

The Heinz Endowments on Wednesday announced that it will spend an additional $9 million on early childhood education. The effort was counted among the more than $330 million highlighted Wednesday in the "Invest in US" campaign organized by the First Five Years Fund.

One other federal grant was announced Wednesday, this one preliminary numbers for $500 million in early Head Start programs serving children from birth to age 3 in 49 states. About $11.4 million goes to Pennsylvania, including $1. …

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