Head Start faces political challenges
Congressional action on Head Start reauthorization is likely in March or April, making this an important time to advocate on behalf of one of the nation's most successful early childhood education programs.
Last July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill including a pilot program opposed by Head Start supporters that would shift oversight from federal to state government in eight states. Last October, a Senate committee passed a bipartisan proposal that dropped the pilot program, but still includes several provisions that Head Start advocates find troubling. These include plans to implement standardized tests for four-year-olds, toughen degree requirements for Head Start teachers without providing additional funding, and compare all Head Start programs with other preschool programs every five years. Neither House nor Senate proposals fund the program at the necessary level.
What You Can Do:
Contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to fully fund the current Head Start structure, without adding onerous standardized testing requirements or unfunded mandates. Head Start deserves at least a $1 billion increase for FY 2004 .
The Congressional switchboard is (202) 225-3121. For more information about these bills and tips on advocacy, visit www.uua.org/uuawo or contact Amelia Rose, legislative assistant for economic justice/RESULTS, at email@example.com, or ( 202 ) 296-4672 x 21 .
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Sign up for regular email action alerts to learn about the UUA's advocacy work at www.uua.org/uuawo.—Amelia Rose and Rob Keithan