Head Start and Early Head Start Funding
In recent years, Congress has passed bipartisan legislation to fund Head Start and Early Head Start and support the quality of and access to early childhood opportunities. NHSA advocates for funding funded to accomplish the goals and activities authorized by law and to reach more eligible families.
Early Childhood Education Workforce
Despite the critical roles they play in the lives of vulnerable children and families, Head Start teachers and staff are often compensated with near-poverty-level wages. NHSA advocates for substantial and sustained investment in local programs to improve salaries for teachers and staff.
Some Head Start facilities are state-of-the-art. Many are sufficient. But a staggering number are crumbling under decades of wear and tear. In addition, the technology gap—including hardware, software, and connectivity deficits that compromise children's ability to participate in virtual education—is acutely felt by the Head Start community. NHSA advocates for access to safe and healthy school environments.
Head Start's eligibility requirements are in desperate need of modernization. NHSA advocates moving to Area Median Income to determine income eligibility and adding categorical eligibility for those qualified to participate in SNAP and WIC or in kinship care.
Reauthorization of the Head Start Act
The Improving Head Start Act for School Readiness Act, which reauthorized Head Start and Early Head Start through September 2012, was signed into law in 2007. It made sweeping changes to Head Start—such as introducing a system of competition, requirements for teacher education, and several other significant changes to the Head Start Model. NHSA is preparing for the next Head Start reauthorization.
Lengthening the hours of services that Head Start offers individual children and their families increases children’s learning and developmental outcomes. NHSA advocates for more hours of high-quality learning experiences.
NHSA regularly leads and joins letters to those in positions of power requesting that they take action.
Federal Register Comments
NHSA files written submissions on issues related to Head Start in the Federal Register.
NHSA routinely provide testimony to the Senate and House committees of Congress.