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ERIC Number: ED540305
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Reforming Head Start: What "Re-Competition" Means for the Federal Government's Pre-K Program. Issue Brief
Severns, Maggie
New America Foundation
Head Start, the federal government's pre-K program, is at a crossroads. The program has been used as an anti-poverty measure by the government for over 45 years. It has grown significantly since its inception and provided many children with a valuable, high-quality early education, and in FY2012 served more than 960,000 children under 5 on a $7.9 billion budget. Yet Head Start is a complicated, bureaucratic program that suffers from a mixed record of research studies that call into question whether it creates any long-term academic gains among children. On top of annual budget threats, the program is vulnerable to additional cuts that would come with across-the-board reductions in federal spending, known as "sequestration," scheduled for January 2nd, 2013. In the midst of these challenges, Head Start has embarked on its largest reforms in decades to improve the quality of its grantees. The reform process, called "re-competition," forces Head Start providers that are found during audits to be low-quality to compete with other agencies in the same geographic area for future Head Start grants. If successful, re-competition could make Head Start more effective by making its providers truly accountable for the education, health, and family services they provide for the first time. This brief provides a broader view of re-competition set in the context of Head Start's history and limitations. Before now, much of this information has not been available for public viewing, nor has it existed succinctly in one place for policymakers and the public to digest. The aim is to lay out, in plain terms, how Head Start re-competition works and what questions it raises for the future of the program and the prospects of building a higher-quality, more coordinated system of publicly funded early learning programs. (Contains 39 notes.)
New America Foundation. 1899 L Street NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-986-2700; Fax: 202-986-3696; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: New America Foundation
Identifiers - Location: United States