The Indianapolis Star’s editorial writer, Matthew Tully, took a swing at Governor Pence in his recent article, Pence rejects bid for $80 million preschool grant, but struck out on facts. Instead of a factual article, Tully has delivered what many have come to expect from the Star- advocacy journalism, intended to deliver a politically-partisan message, not facts.
Tully begins the article by embellishing the amount of the grant and our chances of winning:
The state’s odds had greatly improved this year, [Indiana was previously rejected for a similar grant] as the federal government recently announced in the Federal Register that Indiana was among two states, along with Arizona, that had qualified to apply for up to $20 million annually, for up to four years. The two states were labeled “category one” states, meaning they were eligible to apply for the most money.
The reality is that Indiana is one of 16 states competing for a piece of the $80 million preschool grant, not one of two states eligible to win $80 million. The grant states that Indiana is only eligible to win between $5-$20 million total under this award. It seems a more accurate title for his article would have been, Pence rejects bid for between $5 and $20 million preschool grant, but that doesn’t deliver the same punch when creating the image that Pence has dismissed a pot of gold for low-income preschoolers.
Additionally, Tully alludes to the idea that Indiana was a front-runner in the grant competition because the state was one of two labeled as “category one” and “eligible to apply for the most money.” The truth is that the categories and eligible award amounts were determined based upon the state’s population of four-year-old children eligible for the program, nothing more.
The only thing that makes a state more likely to win is to agree to the 18 pages of federal requirements stipulated throughout the grant, such as mandating full day care, extensive testing, and data collection on children who are only four-years-old. Of course, the negative aspects of the grant aren’t mentioned, only a bit at the end over questions regarding a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment.
It would be nice to see a complete piece on the preschool situation in Indiana written by the Star. One that isn’t written from an advocates position, but a factual one. The people of Indiana deserve it.