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Head Start Policy Book

The President's Proposal to Strengthen Head Start
and Improve Preschool Programs

The single most important goal of the Head Start reauthorization should be to improve Head Start and other preschool programs to ensure children are prepared to succeed in school. Given the vital role states already play in conducting preschool programs, the President believes there should be a state option in the Head Start program to foster comprehensive, high quality preschool programs.

Under the President's proposal for improving preschool programs in general and Head Start in particular, Governors are offered the opportunity to integrate preschool programs with Head Start programs for the state or a region within the state in exchange for meeting certain accountability requirements. Governors from states wishing to participate must submit a state plan for approval to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education that addresses several fundamental issues concerning preschool education. The issues that must be addressed by the state plan include:

The Administration's proposal includes an additional feature that is designed to help fund the development of preschool guidelines and accountability programs. Under current law, the Department of Health and Human Services spends about $165 million per year to provide technical assistance to improve Head Start programs. The Administration intends to make a significant portion of this money available to states to meet their needs in designing and implementing state plans.

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