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Head Start Will Need More Funding; SD, Trump Not Helping

Megan Raposa reports that new performance standards requiring more contact hours may mean the Sioux Falls Head Start program won’t be able to serve as many kids:

The Head Start federal office last fall released new performance standards for the preschool program, including a provision that schools more than double the amount of time kids spend in the program.

But doubling services with no additional funds could mean serving fewer kids, Early Childhood Education Coordinator Val Peters told school board members Monday night [Megan Raposa, “225 Kids Are Waiting to Go to Preschool, and the List Could Get Longer,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.04.10].

This year’s Senate Bill 155, a Democratic proposal for a measly $2,500 per child to put 2,000 little ones through a pilot public pre-K program, had the support of the Northern Hills Alliance for Children, SDEA, the public school administrators, and the Presentation Sisters. Family Heritage Alliance and Concerned Women for America shouted “God, no!”, as did the Governor’s finance people. SB 155 died in committee, so South Dakota remains, as Raposa notes, one of only six states that offer no public support for preschool.

That means low-income families who cannot afford to pay for private preschool tuition are left with Head Start as their only option [Raposa, 2017.04.10].

The Trump budget doesn’t mention preschool or Head Start specifically, but it would cut 16.2% from funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs Head Start.

Hmm… before Betsy DeVos over at Department of Education and Senator Rounds start diverting federal funds toward private K-12 schools under the false banner of “school choice,” our federal and state leaders should look for a way to give low-income families at least one realistic choice for public preschool.


  1. Michael L. Wyland 2017-04-11

    Head Start has a few problems that cause even its fiercest advocates problems. See:

    Among the issues is that Head Start was never intended to be an educational program for children. It was intended to be an economic self-sufficiency and family strengthening program for families. That’s why it’s housed in Health & Human Services and not Education at the federal level.

    Another problem is that too many public school districts have become Head Start providers, further slanting the program’s services away from families. Most Head Start programs are still administered by nonprofit organizations, which I maintain are more free and more likely to follow federal goals and methodologies instead of a school district’s making Head Start programming meet the district’s preexisting educational priorities.

    A third problem is that the federal share of costs for Head Start now exceed $8,000 per Head Start child (not family) per year.

    Finally, the data on long-term Head Start effectiveness for children are decidedly mixed, and no one I’m aware of is even attempting to measure Head Start effectiveness on family self-sufficiency.

    If someone in public debate uses “Head Start” and “preschool” interchangeably, it’s a sign they aren’t very familiar with the subject. As I said above, Head Start doesn’t serve kids; it’s designed to serve families.

  2. mike from iowa 2017-04-11

    Billionaire Sec of Privatizing Education is getting extra security and the US Marshall’s office will be reimbursed from the Dept of Education, meaning a million a month less for education spending to pamper a pampered pooch who has zero qualifications for the job except for her billions and friendship with the mangled apricot in charge.

    All that in one sentence. mfi you amaze yerself.

  3. Adam 2017-04-12

    MFI, yeah, and woah. And combined with Trump’s Tower security and golfing bills, this sh!t is out of control. Americans are paying an extra $125,000 per year for this President to golf at his own resort.

    “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to play golf.”
    -Trump at a Virginia campaign rally in 2016

    Meanwhile, Butt Face, is out there golfing more than everyone who ever came before his lazy, caviar eating, foie gras loving, ever-growing fat ass.

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