Federal

Republicans Unveil House Head Start Bill

By Michelle R. Davis — May 10, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

House Republican education leaders struck a conciliatory tone last week as they unveiled legislation to revise the federal Head Start program, saying they believed that Democrats would support most of their proposal.

Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said his staff had worked to assuage concerns by Democrats and Head Start lobbying groups, which derailed reauthorization of the federal preschool program for disadvantaged children during the last Congress.

“We have worked closely with our colleagues across the aisle to develop this bill,” Rep. Boehner said during a May 5 press conference, “and by and large they are in full support of the outline of this bill as it stands today.”

The bill addresses a major concern of some Head Start advocates, who have accused the Bush administration of trying to dismantle the program. Republicans have abandoned a much-discussed proposal for an eight-state pilot project that would have sent Head Start money directly to states instead of to local programs, as is the current practice.

Instead, Mr. Boehner said he’s opting for a 50-state effort to coordinate Head Start and state pre-kindergarten programs. Critics of the pilot project had worried that states might seek to transfer money away from the federal program.

“We are encouraged to see that the initial outline of the House bill does not include the controversial state block-granting provisions,” said Sarah M. Greene, the president of the Alexandria, Va.-based National Head Start Association, which represents Head Start parents and teachers.

‘A Work in Progress’

The Republican bill also tackles the idea of recompetition—forcing Head Start grantees to compete with other providers when their grants expire.

While Republicans concerned about lapses in financial management at local Head Start programs had initially proposed that all grantees recompete regularly, the bill proposes that only programs found to have at least one serious deficiency would be required to vie with other applicants for their contracts.

Rep. George Miller of California, the ranking Democrat on the education committee, called the Republicans’ bill “a welcome change from their previous approach.” But he noted that the bill does not address low salaries for Head Start teachers or authorize additional funds to add more children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers to Head Start.

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Use Your 'Teacher Voice,' Jill Biden Urges in a Push for Political Activism
Voting in the midterms is a critical step educators can take to bolster democracy, the first lady and other labor leaders told teachers.
5 min read
First Lady Jill Biden speaks during the American Federation of Teachers convention, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Boston.
First lady Jill Biden speaks during the American Federation of Teachers convention in Boston.
Michael Dwyer/AP
Federal Federal Initiative Leverages COVID Aid to Expand After-School, Summer Learning
The Education Department's Engage Every Student effort includes partnerships with civic organizations and professional groups.
3 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks at an event on June 2, 2022, at the Department of Education in Washington.
U.S. Secretary of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks at an event at the Department of Education in Washington in June. The department has announced a push for expanded access to after-school and summer learning programs.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Restraint and Seclusion, and Disability Rights: Ed. Department Has Work to Do, Audit Finds
The Government Accountability Office releases a checklist of how the U.S. Department of Education is performing on a list of priorities.
4 min read
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. The Government Accountability Office has released recommended priorities for the Education Department that target special education rights.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Biden Administration Boosts Grants for Community Schools, Sharpens Funding Priorities
The Education Department will award $68 million through its Full-Service Community Schools program.
2 min read
First-graders Rhiannon Hanson, left, and Holden Ashbrook make fruit skewers in class at Lincoln Elementary School in Dubuque, Iowa, on Jan. 20, 2022. Project Rooted has partnered with Dubuque Community Schools for a pilot program in which it provides monthly boxes containing local foods and a project to first-grade classrooms.
First-graders Rhiannon Hanson, left, and Holden Ashbrook make fruit skewers at Lincoln Elementary School in Dubuque, Iowa. The U.S. Department of Education is providing grants to high-quality community schools that provide wraparound services like the nutrition programs at Lincoln Elementary.
Jessica Reilly/Telegraph Herald via AP