CHN: Senate Introduces Head Start Legislation Without State Block Grant Pilot
On the evening of Wednesday, October 22, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released its bipartisan Head Start reauthorization bill. Reauthorization of the landmark federal preschool program has been a contentious one in Congress this year largely due to lawmakers’ partisan disagreement over whether to hand authority for the programs to the states. The House Republican bill (HR 2210), passed on July 24 by one vote and included a block grant pilot project to funnel federal Head Start funding through states, taking away local control, increasing state responsibilities without additional funding, and jeopardizing quality controls.The new Senate bill rejects the block grant approach. HELP Committee Chairman Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), has publicly announced that he intends to proceed with reauthorization in a fully bipartisan manner in efforts to avoid the controversy that dominated House debate. Advocates hope to use this opportunity to work with both chambers for a conference bill that does not include the state block grant in any form. The Senate bill will likely be marked up in committee next week, but will probably not reach a floor vote until early next year.
For more information about Head Start reauthorization, please visit the SaveHeadStart.org webpage.