National Head Start

  • Head Start is Leading the Way in Quality Pre-K

    Thu, 04/19/2018

    by Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director, NHSA   Enrollment in state-funded preschool programs has more than doubled in the past 15 years, but an annual report released today by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) reveals that one of the defining aspects of Head Start — high-quality standards — is missing from many state-funded preschool programs. What’s more, many of those that are succeeding are doing so in part because of their strong collaboration with Head Start programs and/or because they have aligned their standards with the Head Start Program Performance Standards. Read between the lines and the message is clear: Head Start is leading the way in demonstrating how to provide consistently high-quality pre-K that improves outcomes for children in kindergarten and beyond. 2017 - National Institute for Early Education Research The State of Preschool 2017 annual report, based on 2016-17 academic year data, finds states heeding the demand for… A Sought-After Partner Even though Head Start is fundamentally a federal-to-local program in terms of funding, state leaders have sought to partner with Head Start programs within their states in order to increase both the quality of their preschool initiatives and the number of three- and four-year old children they can reach. In fact, one of the states highlighted...

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    Categories: General, Our Voice   Tags: , , , ,

  • Standing up for Head Start no matter where you are

    Fri, 09/8/2017

    By Tameka Henry, Regional 9 Head Start Association Parliamentarian      Wherever you are standing—you need to lead. That has been a guiding principle for me—especially from the time my now teenage daughter was enrolled in Head Start 10 years ago and as a young parent I realized the challenge of being the best parent I could be. As I grew into my own power as an adult, I discovered leadership begins at home—by being a good parent. The first and most important job of any advocate is to lead your family—to teach and learn the skills of open and honest communication. From what I learned through Head Start, I helped my children to be problem solvers, innovators and cheerleaders of the peers. For me—as much as for them—I said to always speak truth and never let the power of others define your beliefs. But folks need to do more: The obvious opportunity is in your school or in your community. For me, that place was Head Start where my two daughters were enrolled. I realized that as a participant, I and my children were consumers of Head Start’s services—and to support them, to improve them—to preserve them, I needed to act. Region 9 Head Start Association’s Ed Condon recently said it well: “We are faced with the reality of not only having to be educators—but being cheerleaders as well to survive—to lead the charge.” I have learned not...

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  • What Did the GAO Find About Early Childhood Programs?

    Wed, 09/6/2017

          08/10/2017 02:06 pm ET   Effective use of federal funding is imperative to meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable early learners. To ensure those precious public resources are efficiently spent, Congressional leaders regularly (and rightly) ask about potential fragmentation, overlap and duplication of the various federal programs providing early care and education. Last month, Congress’ oversight arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), examined these questions and reported back to lawmakers, revealing some very encouraging and promising findings. Although the report identified 44 federal programs that make funds available for early childhood needs, only nine of them have an explicit early learning or child care purpose. Of those nine, just two of them — Head Start and the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) — comprise about 90% of the $15 billion annual federal investment in early care and education. The other 10% includes more targeted populations (children with disabilities, parents in college) or have very specific purposes (welfare reform, nutritious meals). A large majority of the 44 funding sources that were identified do not even require that funds are spent on early childhood programs. So, is this federal investment fragmented? Yes, the report says it is fragmented, meaning multiple government...

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  • Guarding against implicit bias: Keeping the Head Start experience joyful—always

    Thu, 07/6/2017

              Recently, National Head Start Association Chairman Damon Carson wrote a commentary for the Region 9 Head Start Association about a vivid documentary that detailed how Head Start formed the early lives of the leaders of the Girl Scouts of America, the Ford Foundation and the NAACP. What came zinging through their stories was how much as young people they cherished their Head Start experience and, later, the memories of that experience. We all know how impressionable children are. Early positive and fun experiences are relished for a lifetime. That’s why from all across the country, educators, doctors, lawyers, military personnel, artists, engineers, religious and civic leaders, and scientists—and even members of Congress—remember Head Start as the place where, at an early age, they acquired a life-long love of learning. So—if children remember their positive experiences, they will also remember the negative ones, as well. And that’s what I want to write about this month: The need to keep our Head Start classrooms joyful places to learn—and a subtlety that threatens this. New research from the Yale Child Study Center finds that when pre-school teachers expect disruptive behavior from children, they look at the child’s race. Basically, the research showed that the teachers in the study expect black boys to act worse in...

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  • Let’s keep doing great work in face of political winds

    Thu, 04/27/2017

            There’s a motto among sailors that when difficulty arises—especially such as a large storm—that until it’s decided what actions need taking, that you should “maintain course and speed.” That’s a pretty good way to view current events happening in our nation’s capital and how they affect Head Start programs. The storm brewing looks immense with headwinds and waves threatening to swamp us. But we have weathered these kinds of tempests before. More importantly, we all know the advantage that Head Start provides children and their parents—and that confidence should give us great reassurance for the future. Nevertheless, it pays to be vigilant and ready to act quickly: Knowledge is power, and so let’s review the current “sea state” of national politics—what is happening in Washington D.C. and how that translates into likely actions we can take. It’s obvious the new administration is pushing an agenda—to change everything that the former administration put in place. And the majority-led Republican Congress is, for the most part, not opposing the president. Topping the agenda is dismantling the Affordable Care Act, tax reform and new draconian measures to reduce immigration. Getting much less publicity is the push to change how Head Start funding is handled—to make it block grants to the states. (HR 1921, Head Start...

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  • Head Start: Keeping It Real

    Fri, 03/3/2017

      by Yasmina Vinci, Contributor Executive Director, National Head Start Association   Originally Posted on "The Huffington Post" 02/22/2017 10:29 am ET | Updated Feb 22, 2017   While the Head Start community welcomes efforts to highlight the critical need for high-quality, early learning programs, including the need for more resources, longer duration, and increased access to quality early learning opportunities, too often these assertions are fraught with misleading information that confuses the debate and waters down the argument. Take, for example, Katharine R. Stevens’ chapter in Robert Doar’s recently-released book, A Safety Net that Works: Improving Federal Programs for Low-Income Americans.” While we agree with Dr. Stevens’ argument on the importance of high-quality early education existing needs in the field, Dr. Stevens fails to effectively highlight current challenges or adequately address them. In fact, the pilot program suggested in the chapter would likely hinder, rather than support, continuing improvement in the early childhood field, and would leave our nation’s most vulnerable children and their families behind. The Head Start community’s concerns with this chapter range from the questionably-presented historical context to omission of relevant policy actions and research to a proposed solution that does not...

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The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.

The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.

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Sacramento, CA 95814



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