NASET News Alert

Head Start Reform

May 26, 2006

Education Committee Unveils Head Start Reform Website; Committee Seeking Public Input on Quality Head Start Programs & Strategies for Success

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce  unveiled a new website seeking input from parents, teachers, and advocates for early childhood education on how to strengthen and improve the Head Start early childhood program, including stories about exceptional Head Start programs, and what has made them so effective.  This year, Congress is expected to renew and reauthorize the Head Start program by increasing program accountability and helping to close the school readiness gap between Head Start children and their peers.  The Head Start survey can be found on the Education and the Workforce Committee website at http://edworkforce.house.gov.

“As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Head Start program, a primary goal will be to protect the many quality Head Start programs providing effective early childhood services to disadvantaged children across the country,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH).  “The new Head Start survey invites public comment on exceptional Head Start programs that are leading by example, and seeks input on how the program as a whole can be made stronger.”

“As we work to improve a program that has already provided so many children with a jump start in life, we must figure out what works and what doesn’t.  This informal survey will enable the entire education community -- parents, teachers, students, administrators and other organizations -- to participate in the reauthorization process,” said Education Reform Subcommittee Chairman Mike Castle (R-DE).  “Good ideas become great ideas when we collaborate with each other and really brainstorm outside the box on how to improve the program so more disadvantaged students are able to benefit from this critical program.”

The new Head Start survey is similar to a web-based outreach effort used by the Education and the Workforce Committee during reauthorization of the nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  That effort resulted in thousands of public comments and suggestions, many of which were included in the bipartisan special education reform legislation signed into law by President Bush in December 2004.  Committee leaders are hopeful for similar success with the Head Start survey, which will serve as an important outlet to learn more about effective Head Start programs and the strategies that have made them successful.

For more information on efforts to strengthen and renew the Head Start early childhood program, please visit the Education and the Workforce Committee website at http://edworkforce.house.gov/issues/109th/education/headstart/headstart.htm.

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