The federal government has told 122 recipients of Head Start funds that they must recompete for their grants, a process created to improve the quality of the preschool program offered to low-income children. They include some Head Start programs that are under the auspices of school districts, such as the Morgan County School District program in Fort Morgan, Colo.; the program run by the Recovery School District in Louisiana; and Mercer County Head Start in Ohio, run by Celina City Schools.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the $8 billion Head Start program, said these organizations were selected because they've had their licenses revoked, have had fiscal or management issues, or have had deficiencies discovered in their on-side federal monitoring review. The group also includes some centers that scored in the lowest 10 percent on a classroom-quality evaluation.
This is the second group of Head Start recipients to be told that they need to recompete for their funds. In December 2011, 132 programs were selected for "designation renewal," as the government calls the competition process. The results of that competition were to be released this past December, but with no explanation, the federal government delayed that announcement until the spring.
The quality of Head Start programs has received fresh attention recently because of a report released in December that suggested the benefits of the program fade by the time participants are in 3rd grade.