With the reauthorization of Head Start expected to move to a conference committee in Congress this fall, the National Governors Association has issued its recommendations for improving the 43-year-old federal preschool program for poor children.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders last week, Gov. Donald L. Carcieri of Rhode Island, a Republican, and Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, said they support increasing income-eligibility levels for the program so more children can attend. They also recommend raising qualifications for half of all Head Start teachers to a bachelor’s degree. Doing so, however, would require an accompanying increase in federal funding, both for training and adjusted salaries, the letter says.
The governors also favor financial incentives for states to establish early-learning councils and advisory groups, which help coordinate the variety of early-childhood-education services within a state, or continue the activities of those already in place. But they noted that they don’t want such committees to be federally mandated.
A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 2007 edition of Education Week