Pence rejects bid for $80 million preschool grant?

October 16, 2014 3 Comments

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 grantbut 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.


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Comments (3)

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  1. School Parent says:

    +1 and Kudos to Ms. Tuttle on bringing this bias to light. Indianapolis Star…NO SOUP FOR YOU!

  2. Sean says:

    Care to post a source about how the bid wasn’t for 80 Million? Because I can’t seem to find ANYTHING backing up your claim, but Matthew Tully’s article is completely verifiable.

    • Erin Tuttle says:

      My information comes directly from the grant application. I have pasted parts of it below that pertain to your question with the link for you.

      FY 2014- Estimated Available Funds: $80,000,00.00 million.
      Estimated Range of Awards:$5 million to $20 million
      Estimated Number of Awards: 5 to 8 awards.

      Indiana was eligible, if selected, to receive between $5 and $20 million dollars of the $80,000,000 amount available. It has always been questionable if Indiana would have been awarded the full amount of $20 million or $5 million. Winning the grant only guaranteed Indiana to receive that amount for one year.

      5. Continuation Grants awarded under this competition may be for a project period of up to four years. Depending on the availability of funds, the Departments will make continuation awards for years two, three, and four of the project period in accordance with section 75.253 of EDGAR (34 CFR 75.253). Consistent with this provision, the Departments will determine the extent to which a grantee has made “substantial progress toward meeting the objectives in its approved application,” which will include a review of a grantee’s progress in meeting the targets and projected outcomes in its approved application, and whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget. To ensure that continuation funds will be used only for high-quality and effective projects, in determining whether or not to award continuation grants, the Departments will also consider the extent to which the grantee is achieving the intended outcomes of the grant and progress in areas demonstrates the following:

      The above paragraph from the grant application states that grant “may” be available for a four year period “depending on available funding.” This means if, and only if, Congress approves additional funding, each and every year of the 4 year grant then states could get additional awards. The Us Department of Education “in determining whether or not to award continuation grants” will also evaluate each state’s progress to make sure it is satisfactory to them.

      Tully and others assumed three major things to claim the grant was worth $80 million:
      1. Indiana would be awarded the full amount of $20 million versus $5 million.
      2. That Congress would appropriate the money again for the next four years.
      3. That the US Department of Education would judge Indiana’s progress acceptable to receive further awards.

      Might I ask what evidence Tully provided you? If you would like to read the grant proposal, you can find it here:

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