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Black Caucus Steps Up Criticism of Head Start Plan

Black Caucus Steps Up Criticism of Head Start Plan
By Charles Dervarics

Plans to overhaul the federal Head Start program could have major implications on children in districts represented by Congressional Black Caucus members, CBC members say.

With both pro- and anti-reform advocates raising the level of debate on Head Start, the CBC contends that low-­income youngsters in their districts will lose ground even before they reach the start of the education pipeline.
“Now is not the time to gamble with our children’s future,” says Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. About 144,696 Head Start children live in CBC districts, representing about 15 percent of all youngsters in the program.
Under the GOP proposal, eight states could assume greater control of Head Start to better coordinate the federal program with state pre-kindergarten efforts. Lawmakers scaled back the experiment to eight states after initial plans contained no limit on the number of states taking control.
But even a limited experiment may harm children, lawmakers say. While many states have their own preschool programs, most are not as comprehensive as Head Start, which has nutrition and health services in addition to education. For more information, visit the CBC Web site at .

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