National News

Head Start is Leading the Way in Quality Pre-K

by Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director, NHSA

Enrollment in state-funded preschool programs has more than doubled in the past 15 years, but an annual report released today by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) reveals that one of the defining aspects of Head Start — high-quality standards — is missing from many state-funded preschool programs. What’s more, many of those that are succeeding are doing so in part because of their strong collaboration with Head Start programs and/or because they have aligned their standards with the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

More Than 600 Head Start Programs to Lengthen Hours Under New Funding

By Christina Samuels

The Office of Head Start announced Tuesday that it will distribute $290 million to 665 Head Start and Early Head Start programs around the country that they can use to expand their full school day and year offerings. 

Congress appropriated the supplemental funding in a fiscal 2016 budget bill for the federal preschool program for children from low-income families, and the money is now part of Head Start's base funding, subject to congressional approval.

Let’s take a minute to applaud a government program that works

Let’s take a minute to applaud a government program that works

By Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.)

October is also known as “Head Start Awareness Month,” so it is worth taking a look back at the crucial program providing education, health and nutrition services to under-privileged children.

When the Head Start program emerged in 1965, it was a summer program of only a few weeks, designed to give low-income children a leg up before starting the school year.

Little did its creators realize that it would become one of the longest-running and most proven programs in our fight to break the cycle of systemic poverty. Head Start now provides year-round services for children and families, offering educational, nutritional, health, and social services to nearly one million Americans annually.

The long-term impact of the Head Start program

Lauren Bauer and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

A growing body of rigorous evidence suggests that policy interventions aimed at early childhood bear fruit for decades. For example, reductions in air pollution in the first year of life and more experienced kindergarten teachers are associated with increases in later earnings, while childhood access to food stamps and Medicaid causes better health in adulthood. Across many studies of several programs, preschool attendance among disadvantaged children has been found to positively impact participants. Research has demonstrated strong long-term impacts of random assignment to high-quality preschool programs from the 1960s and 1970s, including Perry Preschool and the Abecedarian program. Head Start, the large-scale federal preschool program, has also been shown to improve post-preschool outcomes, including high school completion and health outcomes.

Early Head Start: A Stand Out Success | Yasmina Vinci

It’s a painful reality that too many children in our country face challenges beginning at birth. During a recent visit to the Head Start community in West Virginia, I heard from programs about just what Nicholas Kristof describes in his recent column, Building Children’s Brains, — babies born on drugs, early attachments interrupted when parents are incarcerated, and communities overwhelmed by the instability of families. To Mr. Kristof’s point - we need to invest in the earliest years of life to ensure our children are fully prepared to compete in their later years.

Pocatello Women Earn National Head Start awards

POCATELLO — Three women who dedicate time and effort to the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District's Head Start program will receive national recognition in Nashville, Tennessee, this week.

After receiving Idaho and Region 10 awards earlier this year, Kaylin White has been named national Support Staff of the Year winner; Farhana Hibbert, Parent of the Year; and Gabriela Gonzalez, the Ron Herndon Head Start Parent Scholarship recipient. White and Hibbert will be in Nashville on Thursday at the National Head Start Association Conference and Expo to receive their awards and accept the scholarship on behalf of Gonzalez.

The Fadeout Shibboleth | By Yasmina Vinci

[shib·bo·leth/noun: a common saying or belief with little current meaning or truth.]

Although not frequently used, the term shibboleth precisely describes the oft-repeated, yet fallacious, assertion that the benefits of Head Start completely fade out by third grade,

In recent years, foes of federal investment in early childhood education cite fade out as a justification for disinvestment. Somehow, a snapshot of cognitive development, taken in the third grade, has become a proxy for the long-term effects of quality early learning.

OP-ED: Pre-K, the Great Debate | By Nicholas Kristof

Against all odds, prekindergarten is gaining ground.
President Obama called again in his State of the Union address for Congress to support high-quality preschool for all, noting that 30 states are already moving ahead on this front (including New York).

“Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education,” Obama said. The House speaker, John Boehner, who sat stonily through most of Obama’s speech, applauded that line. Congress also unexpectedly increased financing this year for early education.

Another Zombie Idea | By Yasmina Vinci

The zombie vogue in today's movies and TV shows has also invaded media and think tanks in a form that Paul Krugman recently (and aptly) named "zombie ideas" -- i.e., thoughts that should melt away in the daylight of reality and evidence but which "refuse to die." A zombie idea persists when it's "one of those things that everyone important thinks is true because everyone they know says it's true."