Recipients of federal Preschool Development Grants (PDG) reported serving 49,000 children in eighteen states during 2017, an increase of 14,000 students over the previous year, according to a progress update issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
The PDG program, which, beginning in Fiscal Year 2014, awarded up to $250 million per year via a competitive process to states for up to four years, supports efforts to “(1) build or enhance a preschool program infrastructure that would enable the delivery of high-quality preschool services to children, and (2) expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities that would serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.”
The eighteen states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.
PDG funds are distributed across a variety of early childhood education providers, including public and public charter schools (75%), faith-based and not-faith-based private schools (6%), faith-based and not-faith-based community-based organizations (11%), Head Start (16%), as well as Indian tribes, institutions of higher learning, and other institutions (each less than 1%).
Other key statistics include:
- 23% of children are in “economically diverse” classrooms, serving families above 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
- 17% of children are English-language learners.
- 9% are children with disabilities.
The report also notes “States reported using multiple strategies to improve 25,010 slots in 2017. As one example, Maryland added 2,700 improved slots through strengthening professional development, sharing curriculums and practices and establishing strong partnerships. Other strategies used by states included: increasing hours to support full day, reducing teacher-child ratios, and strengthening compensation” as well as providing evidence-based professional development to teachers.