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Head Start Proposes Backing Off Mandate to Extend Operating Hours

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Head Start no longer wants to require center-based programs to offer 1,020 hours per school year—the most contentious part of new performance standards issued in 2016 but never put into effect.

The federally funded preschool program for children from low-income families has released a "notice of proposed rulemaking" seeking comments until May 28 on its proposal to roll back the mandate.

In the notice, Head Start notes that Congress has never allocated the more than $1 billion that centers would need to expand operating hours without having to make drastic cuts in the number of children and families served. Nearly 1 million children and pregnant women were served by Head Start in fiscal 2018.

Head Start has already put the mandate on hold once. Half the nation's center-based programs were supposed to move to longer operating hours by this coming August, with the remainder offering longer hours by 2021.

Vol. 38, Issue 31, Page 4

Published in Print: May 1, 2019, as Head Start Proposes Backing Off Mandate to Extend Operating Hours
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