[caption id="attachment_47292" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Funding for early childhood education can help students compete on a local and global scale."]Funding for early childhood education can help students compete on a local and global scale.[/caption]

Organizers in distressed communities from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., soon will begin plans to create what the federal Education Department (ED) envisions as “Promise Neighborhoods,” where children and their families receive comprehensive support services to boost their chance of being successful in school.

Twenty-one applicants for the program—which aims to transform student outcomes by focusing, in...

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