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Transparency Watch: Why Is Head Start Competition So Secretive?

Over at the Early Years blog, my colleague Lesli Maxwell details how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is refusing to disclose basic details about a competition that the agency has been touting.

As she writes, HHS has made a big deal about requiring Head Start early-childhood providers to compete again to keep their money. Yet now that the applications are in, HHS wouldn't tell her how many applied, give her any information about the judges, or provide details on when or how applications might be made public. That would come later, only after awards are announced, an HHS official told Lesli.

Perhaps HHS might be wise to follow the Race to the Top model for transparency, in which the number of and the names of applicants were released, applications were made public, and basic information about the judges was provided—all before the final results were announced. Until then, it seems that HHS is giving critics another example of how the Obama administration isn't living up to its promise of transparency, as The Washington Post reported earlier this month.

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