Head Start's future is in the hands of Congress

Wednesday, July 23rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Head Start playgrounds have become a battleground for a national debate over early childhood education. The federal program was designed to give low-income pre-schoolers a leg up. But some say that's not happening.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood talks about the details on a bill that could change how Head Start is run. Recent studies have reported Head Start kids continue to fall behind in schools across the country. Now Congress is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that could re-invent and re-direct the program. Supporters of the House bill want to reform Head Start to give the program more of an academic focus. They want to boost requirements for teachers as well as beef up the curriculum to improve pre-math and reading skills.

Head Start organizers say the program could be improved. But they criticize the bill for raising standards without raising the money to pay for them. And they say Head Start kids are excelling. Steven Dow, Community Action Project executive director, "How do head start children compare to children from socially deprived background who have not had an opportunity to participate in head start the answer is that they are performing outstandingly well."

More than 1,300 kids are involved in Tulsa's Head Start program.