WSA 2013 Federal Advocacy Goals

On May 2nd our WSA Board of Directors approved new 2013 Federal Advocacy Goals for our association.

2013 WSA Federal Advocacy Goals

Turn Off Sequestration
Head Start is one of the best investments of taxpayer money.  Research shows that children that have been through Head Start are more likely to be ready for school, less likely to need remedial help, and are more likely to graduate from high school.  Unfortunately, over 70,000 children across the country, and 1,000 just in Washington state, could potentially be dropped from Head Start programs because of ‘sequestration’, the across the board cuts that went into effect on March 1st.   WSA believes that Head Start funding should be increased, not cut.  We urge Congress to turn off sequestration and find a bipartisan and sustainable approach to reducing the deficit that does not cut funding for vulnerable populations.

Expand Access to High Quality Pre-School
We support President Obama’s proposal to expand access to high quality pre-school and look forward to working with Congress on funding and policy bills that will ensure that all children are ready for school—especially our most at risk three- and four-year-olds.  We believe that a high quality pre-school program should have well educated and paid teachers, small class sizes, use evidence based curriculums and assessments, and provide a full range of comprehensive services such as health, nutrition, family support, and parental engagement. To maximize efficiency and capacity, the current mixed delivery system should be utilized with Head Start programs playing a leading role.  Finally, we support the expansion of services for our most at risk pregnant moms, infants, and toddlers by increasing funding for Head Start, Early Head Start and home visiting.

Modify the Designation Renewal System
Our association continues to support the Obama Administration’s efforts to strengthen accountability within Head Start through the Designation Renewal System (DRS). However, we believe that based on the initial roll out, the DRS could be modified to better target poorly performing programs and to encourage meaningful competition. We call on the Office of Head Start to convene a task force that would include members of the Head Start community, early learning researchers, and key stakeholders to make recommendations on ways to improve the DRS system moving forward such as eliminating the 10% CLASS threshold and reevaluating the current triggers so that fewer good programs get swept up and forced to re-compete.