A House subcommittee last week approved legislation to reauthorize the federal Head Start program, sending it on to the full education committee.
The bill calls for more stringent financial oversight, greater competition for grantees who are found deficient, and a requirement that local Head Start programs work more cooperatively with state preschool programs. The Subcommittee on Education Reform passed the measure unanimously on May 11. The $6.7 billion Head Start program helps prepare disadvantaged preschoolers for kindergarten.
The bill does not include a controversial pilot program proposed by Congressional Republicans to send Head Start money to states to be doled out instead of sending it directly to local grantees.
Though the National Head Start Association, which represents teachers and families in the program, has praised some aspects of the bill, it raised concerns in a May 9 letter to Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. The group said it could not support the bill as introduced.
A response the same day from Rep. Boehner called the NHSA’S comments “surprising” since the bill was developed in consultation, in part, with the organization. (“Republicans Unveil House Head Start Bill,” May 11, 2005.)