Obama gives kids a head start
November 9th, 2011
11:26 AM ET

Obama gives kids a head start

YEADON, PA (CNN) – While visiting a Head Start program in a suburb of Philadelphia today, President Obama took yet another step in his ongoing efforts to bypass what he views as a do-nothing Congress. As part of what he is calling the “We Can’t Wait” campaign, Obama announced new benchmarks for evaluating the effectiveness of Head Start programs and a new plan to force all low-performing Head Start programs to re-compete for their federal funding.

“We know that three-and four-year-olds who go to high-quality preschools – including our best Head Start programs – are less likely to repeat a grade; they're less likely to need special education; they're more likely to graduate from high school than the peers who did not get these services,” the president said. “And so this makes early education one of our best investments in America's future.”

Head Start and its subsidiary program Early Head Start are aimed at providing assistance in the areas of education, health, nutrition, parent involvement, and family support to low-income and at-risk communities. Funded almost entirely by the federal government – with just 20 percent comprised of “local match” or “in-kind” contributions from the communities served – Head Start and Early Head Start served more than 1 million children and pregnant women in the 2009 to 2010 program year.

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