June 22-26, 2001

 
 
ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS: HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

WHEREAS, the Head Start program was started in 1965 to provide comprehensive developmental services for America's low-income, preschool children age 3 to compulsory school age; and

WHEREAS, the Head Start program has a long tradition of delivering comprehensive and high quality services designed to foster healthy development in low-income children; and

WHEREAS, Head Start grantee and delegate agencies provide a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development; medical, dental, and mental health; nutrition; and parent involvement; and

WHEREAS, in a study comparing matched groups of low-income children attending Head Start, other preschool, or no preschool, the Head Start children scored higher on such school readiness measures as verbal achievement, perceptual reasoning, and social competence than either of the other groups; and

WHEREAS, though over half of the children entering Head Start were found to have a medical or dental problem requiring some kind of treatment, it was also discovered that Head Start children received more dental and medical care (both treatment and preventative) than their non Head Start peers; and

WHEREAS, in Head Start's 1998 reauthorization, additional emphasis was placed on enhancing the quality of Head Start programs; promoting the professional development of Head Start teachers; and stressing the importance of including reading and math readiness skills in Head Start curricula; and

WHEREAS, the Head Start program is a comprehensive program that works to address the social, cognitive, and physical needs of children and the coordinated involvement of parents in the program so they are committed to their child's education,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly opposes the President's proposal to move the Head Start Program for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the U.S. Department of Education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to increase funding for the Head Start Program to $6.7 billion in FY 2002.