"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, August 19, 2005

Save Head Start

After floating a proposal to move Head Start from HHS to DOE when he took office, Bush & Co. are finding new and creative ways to destroy the program or turning it into yet another boondoggle for the testocrats and privatizers while slipping in an added bonus for the religious right – faith based discrimination in hiring.

If you care enough after reading this to notify your congressman and senators go to
Save Head Start and just click.
We’ll be watching closely as the House takes up reauthorization in September/October to see if Boehner’s proposed amendment to allow faith based providers to hire based on religion gets to the floor. But equally scary are the sneaky tactics contrived around the issue of accountability, being used as a mantra to save the program, while in fact, it will do the exact opposite.

Here are three of the top issues being proposed that threaten the program’s viability:

1. Parental involvement and shared governance are being threatened. Both bills under consideration would reduce policy council to an advisory committee taking power away from parents. Parents are basically being told we don’t want you involved in the program.
This is being done under the guise of strengthening the board for oversight purposes in response to the scandals that have allegedly been a source of great concern.

What will this mean in REALITY: Parents will feel disconnected, less a part of the
program, and make it easier for outsiders to gain more control of the programs within the communities.

2. Increased degree requirements for teachers. Without additional funding or resources will drive teachers out of the program who make twice as much money in public schools after they receive their education. This is expected to create a $3.4 billion in added expenses at a time when funding for the program isn’t even keeping up with inflation.

3. Continued use of high stakes tests on 4-year-olds. Despite a GAO report on the inherent problems with NRS testing and recommendation that the testing should be halted until the NAS studies it, the practice is continuing.

The title of David C. Berliner’s report, Our Impoverished View of Educational Reform, pretty much sums it up.

Anyone interested in this story or Head Start reauthorization can contact Erika Argersinger, Associate Director Government Affairs at NHSA:

In Jim Horn's absence, Judy Rabin will be posting from August 19 - 26, 2005.

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