There’s nothing like a little competition to keep early education centers on their toes. Enter the national Head Start program funding “competition” in which Head Start programs must prove they are worthy of federal dollars. Here’s an article that explains the pros and cons of pinning many Head Start centers (but not all) against each other to vie for the grants.
Grant “Competition” for Early Education’s Head Start Centers
Organizations such as school districts, nonprofits, and other childcare providers that have never had the chance to facilitate a Head Start school, now have the chance to receive that baton and compete for the federal funds.
The competition for funds is seen as a way to focus on accountability and quality.
“This year was the first time ever that Head Start was funded based on rigorous quality measures,” said Lisa Guernsey, director of the Early Education Initiative.
On the west coast, the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), which serves 24,000 students in the federal early education program and has 24 contractors facilitating the program, will have to compete as well.
While most of the regulations are focused on financial issues, management, basic childcare, and facility safety, Guernsey pointed out the concern that Head Start centers will feel pressured to focus solely on the regulations, rather than on developing innovative, high-quality classroom learning.
“We have to watch this over the next couple of years,” said Guernsey, “and make sure that we are still putting the emphasis where it belongs, which is on how children are learning.”
Since early education is pivotal in a child’s future, it is certain that we need some accountability. My hope, thought, is that we find a way to increase access for the underprivileged who are at most risk missing out on it altogether.