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House and Senate Education Leaders Respond to President’s Head Start Announcement

U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued the following statements on President Obama’s changes to the Head Start Program:

“Despite claims of Congressional inaction, the plan announced by President Obama today is already law – and his own administration has delayed its implementation for nearly three years,” said Chairman Kline. “While it is encouraging this effort to strengthen Head Start will finally take effect, I am disappointed the President has chosen to repackage a bipartisan Congressional initiative intended to help disadvantaged children into a partisan ploy for the campaign trail.”

“Congress passed legislation in 2007 to address some troubling problems with the federal Head Start Program, and one of the provisions Congressional Republicans pushed for was to require the lowest performing Head Start programs to compete for continued future federal funds,” said Senator Enzi. “I am pleased President Obama has finally issued new Head Start regulations that have been long overdue.”

“Four years ago we wrote, and Congress passed, a law requiring that the lowest-performing Head Start centers be improved or closed. I’m glad to see that the administration is finally implementing our reforms,” said Senator Alexander.

Republicans have been working to enhance the quality and accountability of the Head Start Program for years, and that’s why both chambers supported legislation to increase competition in the program and ensure valuable taxpayer funds are being used effectively. The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act (H.R. 1429) was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December, 2007.