Secretary Lamar Alexander Huddles with NLC Leaders

Article excerpt

Minutes after receiving a resounding appreciation for his opening general session speech, Secretary Lamar Alexander of the U.S. Department of Education, sat down for a face-to-face and heart-to-heart meeting with a dozen members of NLC's top leadership. President Sidney Barthelemy and First Vice-President Glenda Hood led the frank exchange on key topics and on how to work together in the coming months.

Tops on the list of topics was Head Start. All parties agreed that it is important to support this program for all eligible children. In response to Second Vice-President Don Fraser's concerns that Head Start is not reaching all the city children it should, Secretary Alexander promised to provide information on a community by community basis so that Head Start's true needs and coverage could be examined.

Immediate Past-President Cathy Reynolds cited health care as a linchpin in the appropriate educational development of children and stated that inadequate access to health care is a crisis for children. She suggested linking health care with schools and education as one way to deal with this crisis. Education Task Force Co-Chair Alice Wolf agree with Reynolds about the need for looking at children holistically. Secretary Alexander suggested that his department and NLC work with 25 or 50 cities in order to facilitate coordination. …