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Letter to the full Congress supporting the Head Start conference report

November 13, 2007

Dear Senator/Representative:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to vote YES on passage of the conference report on the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act (H.R. 1429). Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress. 

NEA believes that children's learning begins well before they enter school, and that the transition to school must be founded on strong school readiness. Head Start has a long history of success in this arena, having provided high-quality early childhood education, health, social services, and parental involvement programs to more than 18.5 million low-income children between the ages of three and five since its creation in 1964.

Given the critical importance of Head Start, we are particularly pleased that the conference report:

  • Increases authorized funding for Head Start, allowing tens of thousands more children to participate in the program;
  • Creates new flexibility to allow the program to serve additional low-income children and families;
  • Rejects inappropriate and ineffective testing of four-year-olds;
  • Enhances new goals for quality of the Head Start teaching force;
  • Dedicates funds for local training and improvement efforts;
  • Reserves funding to expand Indian and Migrant Head Start;
  • Expands the early Head Start program, allowing that program to serve an additional 8,000 low-income infants and toddlers

We commend the Committees and conferees for crafting legislation that will help set our nation's most vulnerable children on the path to academic success. We urge your support for this important legislation. 

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy