By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Some $10.9 million of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant is coming to Head Start and Early Head Start services throughout Solano and Napa counties, Rep. Mike Thompson’s office announced Monday.
The award is the first installment of a five-year grant which Child Start, Inc. won through a competitive process established by Health and Human Services. Child Start, Inc. will receive a grant of the same amount for the next four years.
“Everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, deserves an equal opportunity to work hard, get ahead and succeed,” Thompson said in a statement. “The Head Start and Early Head Start services provided though Child Start, Inc. make sure our kids have a foundation for success that’s rooted in education and strong, healthy development. I am proud to support Child Start, Inc. and this grant which will allow them to continue doing great work in our community.”
via More than $10 million going to Solano, Napa Head Start programs.
During the Early Education Summit at the White House it was announced that Child Start was preliminarily awarded an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant.
They have since been told that they will receive a $1.4 million grant and have started hiring staff and recruiting child care partners.
The grant also will fund collaboration between Child Start and local child care programs like Napa Valley Adult Education’s Teen Parent Program and Solano Community College Children’s Programs.
The goal is to expand high quality early learning opportunities for Napa and Solano Counties’ most vulnerable infants and toddlers.
“This grant will empower Child Start to build on long-standing community relationships and work with local child care providers to address the desperate need for high quality care for infants and toddlers in Napa and Solano Counties,” said Debbie Peralez, executive director for Child Start. “We look forward to strengthening these partnerships and continuing to lay a foundation for success for our community’s at-risk children.”
via Child Start Awarded Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership Grant.
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) will receive $4.4 million in federal funds that will be used to enhance child development services for 260 high-need infants and toddlers residing in nine rural Northern California counties.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring children receive quality early education in a safe environment. We welcome this grant to help build upon our existing state-funded child care and development programs,” Torlakson said. “It will be especially helpful to these rural counties.”
The Early Head Start—Child Care Partnership is a new competitive grant that supports the partnering of Early Head Start programs with child care providers to expand the number of high-quality slots for infants and toddlers.
via Early Head Start Grant for Rural Counties – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).
By Eric Westervelt
President Obama has called repeatedly on Congress to help states pay for “high-quality preschool” for all. In fact, those two words — “high quality” — appear time and again in the president’s prepared remarks. They are also a refrain among early childhood education advocates and researchers. But what do they mean? And what separates the best of the nation’s preschool programs from the rest?
NPR found one answer to those questions in Tulsa, Okla. The city is known as a national leader in early childhood education. There, preschool means teachers are unusually well-educated, well-trained and well-paid. Educators in Tulsa have worked to make classrooms safe and nurturing, but also challenging.
via One Approach To Head Start: To Help Kids, Help Their Parents : NPR.
By Jane Meredith Adams and Lillian Mongeau
Head Start received a reprieve Tuesday under the new Congressional budget agreement that would restore some, if not most, of the funding cut from the national child care program last spring.
Head Start lost about 57,000 slots for children, including more than 5,600 in California, because of cuts under federal sequestration, a program of automatically triggered, across-the-board spending cuts. These cuts have continued to ripple through Head Start operations month by month as they cycle through their federal grant processes.
via Head Start funding partially restored in federal budget deal | EdSource Today.
By Lillian Mongeau
A billionaire couple from Texas has stepped in with a $10 million interest-free loan to cover the cost of keeping Head Start programs open this month for more than 7,000 children in six states, where programs were closed by the government shutdown.
For now, California children won’t have to rely on the largesse of private benefactors. No state programs receive their federal Head Start grants in October; money stopped flowing to the federal education program for low-income children on Oct. 1 when the government shutdown began. (See below for list of grant renewal dates for California programs.) Four California programs would face closure in November in the unlikely event the shutdown were to continue.
via Billionaire couple donates $10 million to keep Head Start programs open during shutdown | EdSource Today.
By Alyson Klein
So are those 4,000 Department of Education employees on furlough getting paid during the shutdown? For now, they’re not, but they could be eligible for back pay under a bill authored by a cadre of Republican and Democratic lawmakers from the Washington area. The Obama administration supports the measure.
Since there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight to the shutdown, House Republicans are introducing a series of bills funding certain programs that have gotten political attention (including Head Start and Impact Aid) through the middle of December.
via Education Shutdown Update: What’s Arne Duncan Doing? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
President Barack Obama’s high-profile push to expand prekindergarten programs got a big assist from a Senate Appropriations panel today. The panel, which is controlled by Democrats, approved a $1.6 billion increase for Head Start—the main federal program financing early-childhood education—plus $750 million in new money to help states bolster the quality of their preschool programs.
via Senate Panel Approves Big Early-Childhood Education Boost – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
Sixty-two percent of Head Start teachers nationwide now hold a bachelor’s degree, surpassing a federal guideline calling for at least half of the teachers to hold the advanced degree by this fall, according to a brief by the New America Foundation released earlier this month.
In California, only 48 percent of Head Start teachers have met that bar, according to the California Head Start Association.
via California Head Start teachers lag behind national average in earning bachelor’s degrees – by Lillian Mongeau.
As the federal sequestration budget cuts kick in, Head Start providers across California are struggling to decide how to absorb the shortfall without hurting children.
For most programs, it boils down to a question of whether to cut school days or serve fewer children.
“It’s kind of like a ‘Sophie’s Choice,’” said Rick Mockler, the executive director of the California Head Start Association. “Do you diminish everyone’s education a little bit (by cutting days) or do you cut out some children altogether?”
via Head Start programs across the state cut services, children – by Lillian Mongeau.
The other night I was at a dinner in Washington to learn about the results from ongoing brain research at The Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS to its friends) at the University of Washington. The I-LABS researchers were in town to present at the America’s Promise summit. It’s well known that the early years matter but some of the recent findings about specific brain activity in the very early stages of life are stunning. A major one is just how important human interaction is, that screens don’t do it, but adults holding and interacting with kids matters a lot.
via Time To Wave The White Flag On Head Start – Sort of?.
With sequestration cuts about to take place, Head Start faces a devastating loss in federal support. If this defunding becomes permanent, it would result in the needless destruction of an important component of early education for low-income families — and one of our most effective investments in improving the future lives of children.
In the zeal to promote President Obama’s new proposal for universal access to high-quality preschool, the Head Start program has been unfairly maligned. Both proponents and opponents of the president’s plan have been quick to criticize Head Start — calling it a “dud”and “lousy”. And now, as the post-sequestration budget wrangling begins, there’s a very real chance Head Start could be headed for the guillotine, even though the dismissive rhetoric about the program doesn’t fit the facts.
via The Case for Saving Head Start.
By Lillian Mongeau
Just weeks after President Barack Obama proposed a massive expansion of preschool in his State of the Union address, Head Start administrators are bracing for sequester cuts that could reduce enrollments by thousands of children.
Despite the looming cuts, Head Start operators have been given almost no guidance from the federal government as to how to plan for the possible cuts, or how or when they would be affected.
via Head Start administrators get little guidance on impact of sequester – by Lillian Mongeau.
President Barack Obama used his State of the Union speech to make a big splash on early-childhood education, calling for expanding access to preschool programs to just about every child in the country. But he gave almost no details on the plan in his Tuesday address, including how Congress would pay for it in a tight budget year.
While the financing mechanism still remains somewhat cloudy, the White House put forward additional details this morning about just how the effort would work. Much of the funding would appear to come from states, through a partnership arrangement with the federal government. But the administration also wants to beef up other services for very young children and babies, including home visits from social workers and nurses, although it doesn’t say just how much that expansion would cost.
via White House Gives Outline of Early-Childhood Ed. Expansion Plan.
By Lillian Mongeau
Through a concerted effort over the past five years, California is on track to meet a national requirement that 50 percent of Head Start lead classroom teachers hold a bachelor’s degree by the end of September. While only 27 percent of Head Start lead teachers held a bachelor’s degree in the 2007-08 school year, 48 percent now hold one, and an additional 11 percent are enrolled in a baccalaureate program.
“Most [program] directors are feeling confident that they’ve reached the 50 percent mark,” said California Head Start Association executive director Rick Mockler.
via Head Start requirement boosts college degrees for early childhood educators – by Lillian Mongeau.
Early-childhood educators and advocates are bracing for a series automatic, across-the-board cuts set to hit a broad swath of federal programs on March 1, unless Congress can come up an agreement to avert them.
Education advocates say there’s a lot of uncertainty right now. They aren’t clear on the just how the cuts—which would slice $653 million out of the nearly $8 billion Head Start program, an early-education program for low-income children—would be implemented, if they are put in place. The cuts could mean 100,000 children could lose access to the program, according to an analysis by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.
via Early-Childhood Education Advocates Wary of Automatic Cuts.
By Lillian Mongeau
Head Start in Los Angeles County, the largest provider in the nation, could be broken up into a cluster of smaller programs under a new grant process aimed at improving quality in the federally-funded early childcare program for low-income families.
For the first time in Head Start history, grantees whose programs did not meet certain quality standards in federal inspections have been required to reapply for their funding and to compete with new applicants for the available funds. Grantees, mostly nonprofits and school systems, had been receiving pro forma grant renewals for decades.
via EdWatch 2013: Head Start funding and transitional kindergarten – by Lillian Mongeau.
A report out today by a coalition of government organizations and early learning advocates, shows just how severely the $1.2 billion cut to state funding for early childhood education has affected Los Angeles County. Since 2008, 1,400 locations, or 15 percent of licensed child care centers in the county that had served 11,200 infants and toddlers have closed.
Laura Escobedo, the child care planning coordinator for L.A. County, said nearly a third of the statewide cut, or about $400 million dollars, came out of her county’s budget. Much of the data in today’s report was gathered by Escobedo’s organization in cooperation with L.A. County Head Start and Los Angeles Universal Preschool. Escobedo said they knew there had been a reduction in child care spots and they wanted to pinpoint how severely that reduction had affected individual neighborhoods and districts. Once the data was compiled and worked into a single database, Escobedo said it was clear to her that funding cuts have brought the early childhood care system in her county to the brink.
via Dearth of child care options for low-income families in Los Angeles County – by Lillian Mongeau.
A new report from Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee says that those looming automatic cuts to federal spending will take an especially big bite out of special education.
The report issued last week says 12,000 special education teachers and aides could lose their jobs if automatic cuts in federal special education grants to states go through.
These automatic cuts, the wonky term for which is sequestration, are set to take effect Jan. 2. They stem from Congress’ disagreement over raising the federal debt ceiling last summer. Lawmakers decided they needed to cut $1.2 trillion out of the federal budget over the next 10 years. The plan was to work on a bipartisan agreement to figure out what those cuts should be, but since they didn’t figure out a compromise, across-the-board budget cuts go into effect automatically. (For schools, the single silver lining is that the cuts wouldn’t really be felt until the 2013-14 school year.)
via Jobs of Thousands of Special Education Teachers At Risk.
SAN FRANCISCO—Joined by parents and teachers, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today called upon the Legislature to renew its commitment to quality early learning programs by rejecting more than $500 million in proposed budget cuts to California’s child care and early learning programs.
via Protect Child Care Funding.