Alexander Calls for Better Coordination of Head Start with Other Programs

Says Head Start Only One-Third of Federal Early Childhood Dollars

Posted on April 5, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. — U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told Head Start leaders here today that “better coordination of federal dollars for early childhood education is just as important as providing more dollars if we want to help the largest possible number of children.”

“When I was a child in Maryville, my mother operated one of only two private nursery school and kindergarten programs in town. There was no public kindergarten in Tennessee until 1971,” the senator said.

“Today we understand the importance of early childhood education in giving every child an equal opportunity to one of the most important starting lines in life, the beginning of school,” he said.

“In 2010 the federal government spent nearly $8 billion helping 900,000 children in Head Start —but it spends $18 billion each year on another 68 early child hood programs. Many State and local governments now also have their own early childhood programs.”

In 2007, Congress adopted Alexander’s amendment to create 200 Centers of Excellence to encourage better coordination of early childhood education spending by federal, state and local governments. This year the Federal government will select at least ten centers to serve as models.

Gov. Phil Bredesen has nominated a Chattanooga based Head start program for the competition for designation as one of the nation Centers of Excellence.