Statement on Early Childhood Programs State Leadership House Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled “Opportunities for State Leadership of Early Childhood Programs.” The following statement should be attributed to Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association:

“On behalf of the nationwide Head Start community, I would like to commend Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN), Ranking Member Jared Polis (D-CO), and the rest of the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee for hosting such a critical conversation about the future of America’s youngest learners. Study after study shows that investing early in effective programs like Head Start makes the world of difference for success in school and life– especially for our most vulnerable populations.

While today’s conversation was a necessary start, state leadership remains just one part of the overall early childhood landscape. States oversee systems, but it is local programs who are the hubs of innovation and do the on-the-ground work where the ability to target specific populations is critical for programmatic efficacy. We were pleased to see that the Government Accountability Office, who testified today about a soon to be released report, found that there is very limited overlap across federal early learning programs because each targets a specific population.

Effective leadership and successful coordination that leads to long term outcomes ultimately rests on the successes or failures of local programs such as Head Start grantees. We applaud the Subcommittee for its first step and call on its leaders to host a follow-up conversation looking at the real people behind the system: local leadership in early childhood programs.”

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is a not-for-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for nearly 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start and Early Head Start grantees in the United States. ••• Media Contact: media@nhsa.org

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