Sires Announces Grant to Expand Preschool Programs in New Jersey
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires announced that New Jersey was awarded a Preschool Development Grant by the Department of Education to expand preschool programs in underserved communities across the state. Specifically, New Jersey was awarded $17,498,115 in fiscal year 2014 to support expansion of voluntary, high-quality preschool programs for 4 year olds in high-need communities for children from low-and-moderate income families.
“A child’s socioeconomic status should not determine whether they are afforded early learning opportunities. New Jersey has been a leader in its commitment to expand high-quality early education and this grant will assist in implementing the state’s comprehensive strategy to ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed,” expressed Congressman Sires.
Specifically, New Jersey was one of 18 states that will utilize the grant to work with local communities to provide high-quality preschool programs for over 18,000 additional children in the first year of the four year program. To be eligible for a Preschool Development Grant, states must present an ambitious and achievable plan to implement and sustain high-quality preschool programs that can reach and serve additional eligible children in high-need communities. Up to five percent of the Expansion Grant award may be used for state-level infrastructure and quality improvements.
“Until Congress can implement legislation that would provide pre-school for all, these Preschool Development Grants are critical in ensuring that local communities are provided with the necessary resources to educate thousands of children that would otherwise not have the opportunity to begin learning at an early age,” stated Congressman Sires.
The award announcement was issued as part of the White House Summit on Early Education that brought stakeholders ranging from businesses to educators together to focus on expanding access to early education.