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Early Ed Watch

A Blog from New America's Early Education Initiative

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Our latest issue brief, Reforming Head Start, describes how the new 're-competition' funding system works. 

As we've noted many times on Early Ed Watch, Head Start, the federal government's pre-K program, is at a crossroads. 

In the midst of budget threats and an ongoing debate over whether Head Start creates lasting academic gains in children, 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. 

At the Early Education Initiative, we field questions about Head Start from all directions-- Capitol Hill, colleagues at New America who work in other policy areas, and newsrooms across the country. Our new issue brief, Reforming Head Start: What ‘Re-competition’ Means for the Federal Government’s Pre-K Program, is our attempt to answer these questions clearly and consicely. 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 paper explains the inner workings of the new re-competition system so far.

It also includes information that will be of interest to those who are more familiar with Head Start, such as brief stories about what triggered re-competition procedures for three grantees in New York, Oklahoma and Ohio. 

The Office of Head Start was originally going to announce the re-competition results this month, but as Ed Week's The Early Years blog reported at the end of last week, OHS is now planning to release the results in the spring.

UPDATE 12/11 at 3:09 pm:  As reported late yesterday by Lesli A. Maxwell for the Early Years blog on Ed Week, the Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to Rep. John Kline (R-MN) answering his questions about the new funding process, the number of applications received for the new grants, and how the reviewers of those applications would be chosen. The letter says that more than 500 applications have been received.  Another source for watching news of Head Start is the new Head Start blog started last week by Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Office of Head Start.

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