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Yarmuth Joins Leadership for Enrollment Ceremony of Landmark Head Start Bill

 Bill is Now on its way to the President’s Desk to be Signed into Law

Congressman Yarmuth, Chairman Miller, Senator Kennedy, and others look on as Speaker Pelosi and 2 year-old Cynthia Martinez sign the bill to send to the President.
(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) joined a select group of Congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Education & Labor Chairman George Miller, and Senator Edward Kennedy for the enrollement of legislation that will reauthorize and expand the highly successful Head Start program for five years.

It is the mission of this Congress to restore America’s faith in the future, and that means giving every child in this nation the chance to excel,” said Congressman Yarmuth, who was a key figure in the bill’s crafting.  “This legislation gives young Children the tools they need to help them on the path toward success in a rapidly evolving job market and an increasingly globalized economy.”

The bill, which is now being sent to the President’s desk, aims to improve Head Start's teacher and classroom quality, boost coordination of Head Start with state and local early childhood programs, increase the program's accountability, and expand access to the program while maintaining full parent decision-making authority of the policy council.

Head Start serves nearly one million low-income children and their families nationwide, more than 16,000 of whom live in Kentucky.  Research shows that children who attend Head Start enter school better prepared than other low-income children who do not attend the program.  In addition, Head Start children make significant gains relative to national norms in vocabulary, early writing, letter recognition, and social behavior. 

Currently, children are eligible for Head Start only if they come from families living at or below the poverty level.  Under the new bill, Head Start will be expanded to accommodate those living at 130 percent of the poverty level.

Also featured in the bill are a new and fairer accounting system that ensures that programs performing well will not lose their grants, ease the burden on teachers, and the elimination of the National Reporting System—a flawed SAT style testing system that is used for children as young as three.

“I’m honored that the leadership wanted me to join them today.  We all worked very hard to craft a bill that would best serve the children in the most need, and I’m very proud of the results,” Yarmuth added.  “For forty years, Head Start has done an excellent job of providing a solid foundation to disadvantaged children, helping to set them on a path to better realize their potential.  I am very happy to have a hand in extending and strengthening this vital program.”

Picture (12/05/0711:40 AMET )
Head Start Statement (12/05/0711:19 AMET )