U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Storify: Senate Passes Child Care Bill with Bipartisan Support

September 18, 2013
Publication Image

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) hasn't been reauthorized in 17 years. Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee easily passed a bipartisan bill to renew the law, though it's still far from passage.

Head Start Data Show 57,000 Children Will Lose Access to Pre-K

August 20, 2013

This post originally appeared on our sister blog, Ed Money Watch.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released first-of-its-kind data exploring the effects of sequestration on early education. The study, which compiled so-called reduction plans from Head Start grantees, shows that in the current 2012-13 program year, more than 57,000 children will lose access to Head Start services.

Head Start Data Show 57,000 Children Will Lose Access to Pre-K

August 20, 2013

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released first-of-its-kind data exploring the effects of sequestration on early education. The study, which compiled so-called reduction plans from Head Start grantees, shows that in the current 2012-13 program year, more than 57,000 children will lose access to Head Start services.

The Head Start data offer the first comprehensive look at how education practitioners are coping with the sequester that went into effect in March of this year. The sequester, which was preserved through 2021 in the Budget Control Act of 2011 after high-stakes budget negotiations that summer, required all federal agencies (with few exceptions) to make systematic, across-the-board budget cuts at the program level. That meant virtually all education programs – Head Start, Title I grants to school districts, and work-study among them – were cut by 5.0 percent, ultimately effective March 1, 2013. (For much more on the fiscal year 2013 budget, check out our issue brief, Federal Education Budget Update: Fiscal Year 2013 Recap and Fiscal Year 2014 Early Analysis.)

The new HHS data reveal that Head Start centers coped in other ways with the mid-year reduction in funds, in addition to the loss of Head Start seats for low-income children. Nationwide, Head Start will have offered about 18,000 fewer hours per day. Some reduced the number of days per year they will operate – 1.3 million fewer days annually. Still others laid off or cut pay for 18,000 Head Start teachers.

But Head Start programs are alone in this transparency. There’s still far too little information about how K-12 programs are dealing with the cuts, aside from anecdotal media reports and surveys from advocacy groups. And many K-12 programs will likely have more latitude than early education programs in absorbing the sequester cuts, given that the two biggest programs – Title I grants to school districts and special education grants to states – are forward funded, allowing districts to push off the cuts by another school year and take advantage of the longer planning period.

But that’s why the Head Start report is so significant. It proves that sequestration has had serious, on-the-ground effects for low-income children. Admittedly, the 57,000 number is lower than the administration’s previous estimate of 70,000, but both are so dismal, it’s hard to cheer the better-than-anticipated number of seats lost. For the first time, the administration has systematically calculated the effects of the sequester on a program, and the results are not pretty.

Moreover, this is not the end of the pain for Head Start, or for other education programs. The Budget Control Act calls for another $18 billion reduction in discretionary (appropriations) funding in fiscal year 2014, which begins on October 1, 2013. If Congress can’t reach an agreement on where to make the cuts – or on “turning off” the sequester – education programs can expect yet another round of automatic cuts. And we here at Ed Money Watch are not too optimistic about the odds for a congressional compromise, given that the House and Senate are miles apart in even their top-level budget numbers. If the new Head Start data are any indication, that would almost certainly spell out more bad news for the low-income kids those federal dollars are meant to support.

What Obama's Pre-K Proposal Could Mean for Head Start

June 24, 2013

This guest post was written by J.M. Holland, a Head Start teacher in Richmond, Va., and adjunct faculty in the school of education at Virginia Commonwealth University. He writes about education at The Collaborateurs,  formerly The Future of Teaching

To be honest, President Obama’s recent re-commitment to improving quality and increasing access to early childhood education was a surprise to me. I knew that he had an interest in early childhood, because as a Head Start educator I have experienced first hand his interest in early childhood through the Designation Renewal of Early Head Start and Head Start grantees.  And when the Obama administration set accountability as a priority in its efforts to strengthen Head Start it made sense to me. There have been calls for revisions of Head Start funding for years. I am not sure if there will be unintentional negative consequences down the line but any effort toward change takes that risk.

Recaps and Highlights from Eight PreK-3rd Webinars

June 6, 2013
Publication Image

Since February 2012, we’ve been tracking (and live-tweeting) the PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group’s series of webinars on reducing the achievement gap by fourth grade. Today  the work group, of which New America is a part, released a four-page brief with webinar highlights. The group's site also includes PDFs of press coverage from Ed Daily, which reported on each session.

New HHS Child Care Regulations Increase Focus on Quality Education

May 30, 2013

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new round of child care regulations.

Four Years Later, Progress and Pitfalls for State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood

May 28, 2013
Publication Image

This guest post was written by Christina Satkowski, a former program associate for the Early Education Initiative and author of the 2009 New America paper, The Next Step in Systems-Building: Early Childhood Advisory Councils and Federal Efforts to Promote Policy Alignment in Early Childhood. Christina recently received a foreign policy graduate degree from Georgetown University and spent a year in Jordan as a Fullbright Research Scholar exploring education issues in the Mideast.

Back in 2009, states were given a promising opportunity to address a chronic problem in early childhood policy. The stove-piped and uncoordinated nature of programs like Head Start, state pre-K and federally-funded special education programs meant that some children and their families were unable to access valuable services and the programs themselves do not reach their full potential. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “stimulus”), Congress approved a $100 million grant program to support the work of state-level advisory councils designed to lead the effort to build comprehensive and effective systems of early childhood programs in their state.

HHS Proposes New Child Care Rules

May 20, 2013
Kathleen Sebelius Presents New Rules at CentroNia

Conor Williams recently joined the Early Education Initiative as a Senior Researcher. He's just completed a PhD in Government at Georgetown University, a degree he pursued after teaching first grade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Conor's research addresses the challenges immigrant families face in the American education system, educational equity as a means to increased social mobility, and the history of education in the United States.

In an era of Washington gridlock, there’s almost nothing quite as gratifying as seeing big policy changes that echo one’s recent arguments. Along those lines, Thursday was a great day for advocates of more and higher-quality child care in the United States. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a new Obama administration proposal to raise the federal baseline for subsidized child care centers across the country. She introduced the new rules at CentroNía, a bilingual community center in Washington, D.C. that includes early childhood programs, a PreK-5 charter school, and parent outreach initiatives.

Syndicate content