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Back to March Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 314 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS MARCH 2012

Some Head Start Providers May Lose Funding
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For the first time ever, some Head Start contractors will have to compete with other potential providers in their communities to continue receiving funding administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many public school systems, county and city agencies, and large community-based organizations that provide Head Start services have automatically qualified for funding for decades. Now new rules require each program to develop and use school-readiness goals, and to pass muster on other measures during occasional on-site reviews by federal monitors.

The federal Head Start office announced last December that 132 of the roughly 1,600 providers failed to meet the new standards and must compete for funding for the next fiscal year. Providers cited for "recompetition" include the two largest Head Start programs in the nation, administered by the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the New York City Administration for Children's Services.

Providers designated to recompete are concerned they are at a disadvantage, but Health and Human Services spokesman Kenneth J. Wolfe said the designation is not an "adverse action," and that those organizations "are fully eligible" to compete for funds. The agency is expected to announce grant winners in late summer.

The $7.6 billion Head Start program began in 1964 as part of the federal "war on poverty" and now enrolls almost one million infants, toddlers, and preschoolers from low-income families. Funding increases for the program continue unabated despite a 2010 government report that concluded enrollment in the program makes no significant difference in a child's academic performance by the end of first grade. Worse still, during the same year a Government Accountability Office undercover operation found that eight of the fifteen Head Start centers investigated committed fraud.

President Obama's proposed 2013 budget increases program funding to $8 billion. (Education Week, 11-16-11 and 2-22-12)

 
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