Senate Passes Measure To Reauthorize Head Start
Washington--The Senate last week approved its version of a bill that would reauthorize and expand the Head Start program, clearing the way for a conference with the House on the measure as early as this week.
The "human-services reauthorization act of 1990," HR 4151, which contains amendments reauthorizing Head Start, was approved on a voice vote.
The Senate bill's Head Start provision is similar in most respects to a version of the bill passed by the House in May.
Both bills would increase the authorization for the preschool program to $2.4 billion in the 1991 fiscal year, up from $1.2 billion.
The bills also would gradually raise the program's funding ceiling to $7.6 billion in fiscal 1994. That amount that would be sufficient to provide services to all of the estimated 2.5 million children nationwide who are eligible for the program.
In addition, the House and Senate bills would set aside $30 million in fiscal 1991 to allow Head Start providers to open "parent-child centers" that would provide social, health, and education services to low-income families with children under 3 years old.
They also would authorize Follow Through programs to help children during their transition from Head Start to elementary school. The Education Department opposes the transition program, saying it duplicates services provided under the Chapter 1 compensatory-education program.
The measures differ in that the Senate version includes an amendment that would allow elementary schools to create "Healthy Start" programs that would offer social and health programs to poor children.
School districts would apply for three-year demonstration grants for program planning and operation. The Senate bill would authorize $20 million for the new program in fiscal 1991.--pw
Vol. 10, Issue 4, Page 21