SAN JOSE, CA – On Thursday, December 22, the U.S. Department of Education announced more than $3 million in grant awards to eight government organizations for Preschool Pay for Success feasibility pilots that will support innovative funding strategies to expand preschool and improve educational outcomes for 3- and 4- year-olds.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) was awarded $392,704 to explore whether Pay for Success is a viable financing mechanism for expanding and improving preschool within Santa Clara Unified School District.
“We are committed to providing high-quality preschool to all children in Santa Clara County. Because of the significant unmet need in this country, we need to be innovative and leverage resources with other partners,” said County Superintendent of Schools Jon Gundry. “We’re pleased and honored to be a grant recipient in order to support early education and drive expansion of high-quality preschool.”
The successful grant application is due to the continued work of the Strong Start coalition, a group of community leaders, individuals, and organizations committed to expanding access to high quality early learning opportunities for all children age 0 to 8 in Santa Clara County.
Pay for Success is an innovative way of partnering with philanthropic and private sector investors to provide resources for service providers to deliver better outcomes—producing the highest return on taxpayer investments. Through Pay for Success, the government agrees to pay for concrete, measurable outcomes, but taxpayer funds are spent only if those outcomes are achieved.
These feasibility studies will advance the understanding of how Pay for Success can be used to expand and improve the quality of preschool programs for low-income and disadvantaged preschoolers. The SCCOE identified potential outcome measures for students that attend preschool, such as improved kindergarten readiness, reading and math growth or achievement, and improved social and emotional skills. Those outcomes will be evaluated over the course of the grant.
The county office will also examine whether children’s social and emotional development is predictive of future school success, cost savings and other societal benefits.
The Education Department supports initiatives that are based on evidence, focus on outcomes, and improve education for students at all ages. Pay for Success is one of several strategies that the Department can use to promote evidence-based policy.