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.