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Lawmaker Honors Head Start, Solicits Comments to Improve Program

With the 50th anniversary of Head Start coming up in a few days, the leader of the House education committee is reminding the public to submit comments on how to improve the early-childhood program by June 1.

Writing on the blog of the National Head Start Association, Rep. John Kline, the chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said that lawmakers need the public's input on a bill to revise the Head Start Act. The program, which serves 1 million low-income children and families, was launched in May 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty." The law was last revised in 2007.

Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, wrote:

I have seen firsthand what remarkable things can happen in Head Start classrooms. During a visit to the Harlem Children's Zone, I saw children engaged and excited to learn, and I talked with parents who knew their children were thriving under the care of great teachers.

Parents, educators, policymakers, and taxpayers all share a responsibility to ensure our investment in Head Start delivers a quality experience and yields lasting results for every child enrolled. Congress is committed to achieving that goal and making sure a well-intentioned program is meeting the needs of the children and families it was envisioned to serve 50 years ago.

In January, the House education committee released a white paper that outlined some of the principles it believes a new Head Start Act should follow. They include reducing regulatory burdens, encouraging local innovation, and improving provider quality.

Interested parties have until June 1 to offer their thoughts. Send them by email to [email protected].

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