Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

New Data: $3.4 Billion Head Start 'Funding Gap' Seen as Congress Moves to Raise Teacher Requirements

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

New Data: $3.4 Billion Head Start 'Funding Gap' Seen as Congress Moves to Raise Teacher Requirements

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON

A U.S. Senate bill expected to be voted on this summer would force Head Start programs to add or "upgrade" more than 33,000 teachers to meet requirements for more bachelor's and associate degrees. Despite the plan, Congress has made no arrangements to cover the "funding gap" that would climb to $3.4 billion over six years, according to new data released this week by the nonprofit Center for Law and Social Policy.

The National Head Start Association warned that the new unfunded requirements would burden a system already weakened by mounting service cuts, many of which were the result of other unfunded federal requirements. If the teacher requirements are enacted without the funding to pay for them, NHSA leadership expects to see further service cuts, including teacher layoffs and limited hours of operation to cover the gap.

"It seems clear that everyone agrees on the value of requiring more teachers with advanced degrees in Head Start classrooms," says CLASP senior policy analyst Danielle Ewen. "But it seems imprudent to impose such a dramatic new requirement without first making sure that it is paid for in full."

"I want to be clear that we are all for more teachers with B. …

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