HEAD START REAUTHORIZATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,
YOUTH AND FAMILIES
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, JUNE 9, 1998
Serial No. 105-114
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education
and the Workforce
STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN L. MICA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA *
TABLE OF CONTENTS
STATEMENT OF THE HON. LORETTA SANCHEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA *
STATEMENT OF DR. CARLOTTA JOYNER, DIRECTOR, EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE *
STATEMENT OF DR. EDWARD ZIGLER, DIRECTOR, YALE BUSH CENTER IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL POLICY, YALE UNIVERSITY *
STATEMENT OF DR. CATHERINE SNOW, CHAIR, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOLOGY, HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION *
STATEMENT OF BONNIE FREEMAN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR FAMILY LITERACY, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY *
STATEMENT OF DR. WADE HORN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE, GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND *
STATEMENT OF JACKIE DOLLAR, DIRECTOR, NAPA-SOLANO HEAD START, NAPA, CALIFORNIA *
STATEMENT OF YOLIE FLORES AGUILAR, PRESIDENT, LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY ANDREW KENNEDY, DIRECTOR, LACOE'S HEAD START-STATE PRESCHOOL DIVISION *
APPENDIX A -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN L. MICA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA *
APPENDIX B -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HON. LORETTA SANCHEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA *
APPENDIX C -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HON. MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA *
APPENDIX D -- INFORMATION REGARDING HEAD START PROVIDED BY CONGRESSMAN MICA *
APPENDIX E -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. CARLOTTA JOYNER, DIRECTOR, EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
*HEARING ON HEAD START REAUTHORIZATION
June 9, 1998
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families
Committee on Education and the Workforce
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:07 A.M., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Frank Riggs [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Riggs, Martinez, Roemer, Scott, and Kucinich.
Staff Present: Denzel McGuire, Professional Staff Member; Richard Stombres, Legislative Assistant; June Harris, Minority Education Coordinator; Alex Nock, Minority Professional Staff Member; and Marci Philips, Minority Professional Staff Member.
Chairman Riggs. Good morning. I call to order this hearing on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families to address a very important subject, and that is the reauthorization of the Federal Head Start program.
As our two colleagues who are seated at the witness table know, it is very customary to begin hearings with opening statements by the Chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee. But I just conferred with my good friend and the ranking member of the Subcommittee, Congressman Martinez, and we decided that we would hold our opening statements until the next panel of witnesses so that we could go right to our colleagues, because we know our colleagues have very busy schedules as well.
For our first panel, it is our privilege to welcome Representative John Mica from the Seventh District of Florida and Representative Loretta Sanchez from the 46th district of and it says here the "Great State of California," and you will certainly get no argument from the Chairman and ranking member.
John and Loretta, thank you for being here. We have looked forward with a great deal of interest to your ideas, thoughts, and suggestions regarding the reauthorization of Head Start; and with that, I will turn to Congressman John Mica for his testimony. Please proceed, John.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN L. MICA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. Mica. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I am back from the smoky State of Florida, the smoky Seventh District. And you get that in California, too, from time to time.
Ms. Sanchez. No way.
Chairman Riggs. It is called smog in California.
Mr. Mica. We will be drowning in water soon, so I guess we all have to contend with Mother Nature. But I am pleased to be here this morning to testify on an issue of great importance to me personally and, I know, to this Committee.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased today to have an opportunity to testify on how we can work together to improve Head Start. Let me say at the outset that I have been a strong supporter of the Head Start concept and unequivocally believe that we can make no greater investment than to intervene early in the lives of our disadvantaged children. If we do not extend that effort and make resources available, we will pay a much larger price in social programs, public assistance and in our criminal justice system. We can produce poets, professionals, and productive public citizens or public charges and prisoners. I think the choice is ours.
The reason I am here today is because I believe Head Start has strayed from its original mission. I believe it was, in fact, established to give disadvantaged children a head start, a leg up, an exposure to experiences they had been deprived of, and to enrich their lives and abilities so that they could better compete in our schools and function in their lives. I am afraid that, while well intended, what we have done instead, in certain instances, is to build an inflexible, costly, and sometimes unresponsive bureaucracy that has lost both the sight and the purpose of its original mission.
Let me provide as an example one of the Head Start programs in central Florida that serves two of my counties. The program services approximately 478 students. Just the local cost per student is $6,165 per year. By contrast, our best private preschool program costs on average $2,265 less. My largest parochial preschool program has 1,118 pre-K students, with one superintendent and one aide, and costs less than half as much annually for a much more extensive and comprehensive program.
The Head Start program does not have a single State certified teacher in the classroom. We have 25 teaching positions and 25 teacher assistants. These so-called teachers and teaching assistants earn salaries in this range, from $8,000 to $17,000, and I have all of the latest figures here for the Committee.
We also have, as mandated under the morass of Federal Head Start regulations, a small army of Federal employees. Call them what you will, they are in charge of administrating or in some way being part of the bureaucracy to oversee this program. We fund around 22 positions, with salaries ranging on average from $40,000 to $80,000. And what is sad is that not only does this Head Start program cost twice as much, it does not give what I believe is a real head start to our disadvantaged children.
What are some of the problems with our Head Start program? Head Start is often turned into a minority grouping and minority employment program. Children fail to get positive exposure to language, cultural and educational experiences. That was the intent of Head Start in the beginning; Head Start was intended to lift children from a cultural and educational disadvantaged position, not to extend, in fact, the disadvantaged status. Our least advantaged children should be afforded the best teaching skills. Instead, what we have created is a subclass of glorified babysitters to influence children at this most critical educational and developmental stage.
Another problem relates to smaller service area programs, such as the one I have just described in our community. Inflexible Federal Head Start regulations and the mass of administrative, so-called "educational bureaucracy" causes some programs like ours to spend a fortune on miscellaneous, well-sounding and well-intentioned positions that have little impact on the children we set out to give a head start.
Some of this mass of overhead can be absorbed in maybe some of the larger systems, like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, but our community and many others should be allowed more flexibility or waivers to provide cost- and program-effective Head Start assistance.
I did not come here today to criticize Head Start with you, rather to see if we could get it back on its original mission, to enhance programs and expand the opportunity to many more children. Today, I plead with this Committee to explore several alternatives to the current Head Start program requirements:
First, consider a limited voucher program, where parents could place their children in preapproved preschool programs. Local school boards would certify area programs eligible to participate.
A second alternative would be charter Head Start programs. General qualifying guidelines could be established, as they are with charter schools, but these Head Start programs would operate without the morass of federally required bureaucracy and regulations.
A third proposal would be to block grant an amount to school boards or other qualifying institutions of higher learning in order to establish local programs, sans that is minus all of the current federally required mandates. Universities and colleges, particularly those with education and postgraduate teaching programs, should be brought into this process. Disadvantaged children in Head Start programs should have access to the highest level of teaching skills and educational talent rather than a forced grouping with mediocre attendant monitoring.
I believe you have one of the most important tasks for reshaping the lives of thousands of our most needy and disadvantaged children. While every program could use more money as a "Band-Aid" solution to its problems, here is a true opportunity to enhance and expand a program simply by providing a little bit more flexibility and imagination.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for this time and look forward to working with you as we work together to improve Head Start. Thank you.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you Representative Mica, particularly for introducing some creativity and imagination at the outset of our consideration of Head Start reauthorization. Are you free to stay?
Mr. Mica. Yes.
SEE APPENDIX A -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN L. MICA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Chairman Riggs. Okay, then, we will turn now to Representative Sanchez for her statement. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. LORETTA SANCHEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Ms. Sanchez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, especially my ranking member, Mr. Martinez, for allowing me to testify this morning on behalf of a program I believe has made a profound difference in my life.
As you may know, I am the only Member of this Congress who is a graduate of the Head Start program, and I am actually out of the very first class that graduated from Head Start in 1965. As many of my Head Start colleagues, if you walk into my home, you will see my Head Start certificate from 1965 hanging on my wall. There is a reason for that: Because it makes a difference in people's lives.
Back in 1965, I was not exactly one of those 4-1/2-year-olds that had it all together. In fact, I was wearing orthopedic shoes and had not spoken a word yet. My mother, my grandmother, actually, was taking me to the doctor and continuing to think that I was deaf and dumb, and could not find anything wrong with me.
My mother was reading the paper one day and, as many of you know, I come from an immigrant family, but reading the paper one day she came across this whole idea of the Head Start program, because it was beginning. And she said to herself, this is something that Loretta needs. And Head Start changed my life.
Those 6 weeks, because then it was a 6-week program during the summer, transformed me from a shy, quiet girl into an inquisitive and eager child, fully prepared to begin kindergarten at the same level as the rest of my classmates.
I have to admit that the first day I showed up at Head Start I was not really thrilled. As most children, I screamed and yelled and cried and wanted to go home. But the minute I saw celery and peanut butter, I was a devoted fan of the Head Start program.
Now, I bring that up because one of the things that is so important about Head Start is that it does take people who are not used to the education system in the United States and introduces them and does prepare them for their ability to get through K through 12, not just by getting by, but by being an active participant. And it belongs not only to children, but the program belongs to the families of these children.
Every time I hear people talk about how immigrant kids or kids are not trying to learn English or are not trying to fit in, the reality of Head Start is that it does mainstream somebody like me. I had never seen celery and peanut butter as a snack, because of course, I come from a Hispanic family and we eat traditionally Hispanic foods.
The interesting thing is that I do not believe this program has strayed very much from its original intent, nor do I think it has changed that fundamentally. Because when I walk into the Head Start classes in my district, guess what the kids are eating? Celery and peanut butter. And it is still just as important today to introduce them to the American culture and to get them mainstreamed as it was over 20 years ago for me. Gosh, 30 years ago.
Seriously, though, I am positive that Head Start makes a critical contribution not only to people like me, but to all the children who go. And, in fact, I know that many of my constituents, and by that I mean even some of the parochial schools, care about the Head Start program and believe that it is an integral part for our community.
I am thinking of this past year with the classroom crunch that we have had in Orange County, as we have in most of California. The fact of the matter was that our Head Start program was taken out of a school that was needed, that had been in mothballs, but was needed now by one of my school districts; and Head Start had no place to go in Orange County. I was able to broker a deal with the Methodist church in my area so that Head Start could come and have a place in their home. These people believed enough in the Head Start program and saw the results that happened.
Head Start gives families the initiative for them and their children to succeed despite personal or economic hardship, and we all get a lot of bang for our buck through Head Start. It is one of those programs that you can pay for now or wish that you had paid for later on.
But Head Start is not just a childcare program. It is more than that. It incorporates families in the community into the early development of the child. Head Start is a comprehensive program of social services, early childhood development and health care all rolled into one.
Head Start is in a class by itself. Therefore, why make Head Start compete with other for-profit childcare centers? Head Start addresses child and, more importantly, family needs. It offers health, nutrition, social services. It puts a premium on parent involvement, encouraging and offering services to foster parenting, literacy and employment skills.
This is a very important point also, because while out of seven children I was the first and the only one to go to Head Start, the fact of the matter was that what my mother learned through the Head Start program allowed her to be an active participant in the schooling of all of her children, being a den mother, and a room mom, and ways and means chairman in the PTA. She learned this not because someone came up and told her you should do this, but because she was involved in the Head Start program with me. It transforms children and it transforms parents in being able to do management of their children and decision-making.
Attempts to incorporate vouchers or English fluency and paternity testing into this program is contrary to the purpose and the practice of Head Start. Vouchers would destroy Head Start as we know it, not only financially but also its foundation and organization. Head Start is already the most successful publicly funded children's program in the Nation. Never before have vouchers been suggested as a means to improve Head Start, because they will not. If anything, vouchers would sacrifice accountability and quality.
Parents are deeply involved, committed and satisfied with the services of Head Start. Why meddle with something that works? Reauthorization should serve to improve and expand Head Start, not to undermine its primary components.
Let us work to maintain Head Start as the success that it is. Let us make it a birth to compulsory school age program. I urge the leadership of this Subcommittee to consider the successful history of Head Start and to move on with the reauthorization in a bipartisan manner.
Head Start is a program that has enjoyed incredible success and bipartisan support for over 30 years. Let us continue that tradition. We all know that it is less expensive to build a child than it is to fix a broken adult.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Martinez.
SEE APPENDIX B -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HON. LORETTA SANCHEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Representative Sanchez.
You asked a rhetorical question in your statement, and let me give Congressman Mica a chance to respond to it. In fact, I want to make sure that I quote correctly here.
You asked rhetorically in your statement, I say rhetorically only because you, I think, were making a point, but you did not go on to really explain yourself or to basically answer your own question. You say, "Therefore, why make Head Start compete with other for-profit child care centers?"
I do not think Congressman Mica is proposing that competition extend only to for-profits, but I want to give Congressman Mica an opportunity to respond to that question.
Mr. Mica. Well, again, my idea isn't competing with for-profit centers. My idea is just looking at how much money we are spending in small programs. I come from an area with 470 students, and I do not have one certified teacher. I have this list of teachers here, and I am spending between $40,000 and $80,000 for 22 administrators, $6,165 per year per student, and that is only the local cost.
I have some of the regional costs and the national costs. It would astound you, the amount of bureaucracy that we have created in Head Start.
I am just saying, let us take the funds that are given to us. We have two premier, the very finest, schools with preschool, private schools I think they are not-for-profit in my district or locale. I could send them and give a check back to the government, $1,000, and I could give $1,000 to the students. And then, if I took some of this overhead from Atlanta and Washington and Tallahassee, I could provide them with psychiatric care and everything else.
I am just saying that you have to look at how much you are spending and what the results are. And then, if you want a minority grouping program, I have been in these classrooms, and I cannot understand these so-called teachers or what kind of cultural experience that is being given to the kids that are my potential social problems, the kids that will be my dropouts, the kids that will not be able to speak English, the kids that will be the social outcasts.
Now, I support the program. And when Ms. Sanchez was in the program, I was working in my university and I remember starting a project called "Begin Here," which tied the university into a local preschool program, and our educational assets and resources of the university were used to give the very best exposure to these young people.
I do not know what the program was like when she started out; it obviously did a tremendous job. But I am saying we have strayed. Look at what we are spending and what we are getting, and then go into some of these classrooms and see the exposure these kids are getting. It is not what it should be. It should be the finest, the best, and most cost effective.
Chairman Riggs. Congressman Mica, to make sure we understand your point, you are saying that that parochial preschool program down the street, then, is more demographically diverse; it is more heterogeneous, so to speak, than the Head Start program that you visited?
Mr. Mica. I went to all of them, to the parochial, the Catholic school, and I gave the numbers here for the Catholic school and what they are doing in Prestart. We went to the private ones, and I went to the very best private ones; and we went to the church ones. I could not find any one that spends this much money.
Now, the question could be, well, we are taking children with certain disabilities and other things. So I even asked those questions, what percentage do you have, and they were not much different. They were dealing with children with handicaps, from broken families, too. But in bringing them into this setting, it gives them a better exposure at much less cost.
If the program in Los Angeles or Chicago is working, fine, do it. Do your thing. But let us take some of this and let us look at it at least.
And there have also been some mixed results about the effectiveness of some of these programs. Maybe if we had the very best teaching skills. If I am paying $40,000 to $80,000, I want to spend it on the very best people to work with the kids that are the least advantaged, not $40,000 to $80,000 on administrative positions and $8,000 to $17,000 for unskilled, glorified babysitter monitors, as I call them.
Chairman Riggs. I just want to clarify for the record that for-profits participate in the child care development program, in the nutrition program, and introducing for-profits, at least in the context of the Head Start reauthorization, should not, in my view, be controversial in that they are already providing services with taxpayer dollars.
But before turning to Congressman Martinez, let me give Congresswoman Sanchez now an opportunity to respond to Representative Mica.
If the goal is universal early childhood education for all eligible children, what is wrong with competition, if competition will allow us to spread the dollars and serve more kids?
Ms. Sanchez. First of all, what I was talking about with respect to the vouchers, or families going elsewhere, you cannot assure quality and performance standards are being met and comprehensive services are being delivered. For example, of the 18 States providing a State-funded continuum of support for children zero through five and their families, only three incorporate Head Start performance standards.
There are no performance standards, and that is part of another whole other bureaucracy you would have to create, putting in these voucher systems and trying to see if in fact these other preschool or for-profit agencies are really following and really coming up to the performance of the Head Start program. And, in fact, there is only one State, and that would be Florida, that requires the minimum of a child development associate for childcare providers.
The other thing you look at, and I come from the business world and I understand what some people talk about when they say the client is satisfied. We do not have parents saying that this is a bad program; they are saying, this is a great program. We do not have community leaders saying, this is a bad program; it is a great program.
And in addition to that, it 1993, the final report of the Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion, Creating a 21st Century Head Start, which was an exhaustive look at ways to improve and strengthen Head Start, vouchers were never mentioned as a means to improve services for Head Start-eligible children and families.
Parents are deeply involved. They are very committed to their children. They are learning how to work with the system. Children are coming out with a good understanding of what it is to be at the very basic line of what it takes to compete in kindergarten.
They need that Head Start. And they are satisfied with it and the parents are satisfied with it. My community leaders are satisfied with it.
I do not know what is happening in Florida, but I can tell you what happens in Orange County. The only shame of the Head Start program in Orange County is that we have 17,000 kids eligible for it and we are only able to put 35- or 3800 through the program. We would love to see more of what is going on, not start to change it and put it in private hands and not have ways to oversee it and have to build other bureaucracies either at the State level or God knows how.
But it is a good program and it is working, and I do not think that farming it out to other people is a satisfactory thing to do, other than if you are just in the business of funding private firms.
Chairman Riggs. Mr. Martinez.
Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to focus a little bit on your concern Mr. Mica, because I understand where you might legitimately have concern. But, of course, when you express that concern, you have to go back and look at the way you investigate it and the frame of mind in which you investigate it and what you really expected from the program.
You keep talking about no certified teachers in the program. As the law is now, they are not required to be certified teachers. They are only required to have a Head Start emphasis development certification, and they do get special training for that. But the fact is that the low budget that the Head Start program runs on is the reason why we have never really required certified teachers.
I understand the Chairman would like to have that requirement in the law, but then you are going to start to look towards making it an educational program when you start employing certified teachers in the program. The program was never intended to be an educational program.
There should be a link to education, because naturally there is a step up from that program to the educational one, but the fact is, if a particular Head Start program in your district is being wasteful of the money they are getting, the fault lies with the people that approve their budget. Because all the budgets for all of the Head Start programs are submitted, and they are judged not necessarily on numbers of students they would serve, which is one of the criteria, but on all the other expenses they would need to meet to serve any students at all.
So, really, if you are criticizing the amount of money spent, let me go back to the fact you keep talking about the administrative costs in these programs. By law, a local agency can use only 15 percent for administrative costs. Now, if they are finding money someplace else to subsidize some of these salaries, and you mentioned 11,000 to $17,000, you wouldn't get a certified teacher in a Head Start program for even $17,000. Most certified teachers who have been through an AA or Bachelor's degree are going to require more than that even to begin as a starting pay. It depends on the area they are teaching in, too. In California, a starting teacher makes upward of $28,000 to begin with. So I do not think that person is going to want to work in the Head Start program for $17,000.
If the program is working bad, then I think we should have the people that provide the grantee with the funding to look at the program and examine that budget again and take a closer look, because there may be a case and I know where Loretta says that Head Start is working, it is working great in the majority of places. That is not to say in isolated instances that there are not bad programs.
I have sat here in this Congress for 18 years now and listened to people criticize Head Start all those years, but they are usually people that come forward that have examined one particular program and used that isolated instance to damn the whole program, when that is not fair. Because, actually, when you have to look at a program that the Federal Government provides money for, it is on a national basis and overall. What are the majority of the programs doing? The majority of the programs are doing well.
We have a lot of instances. We have a person in Congress who was a graduate of Head Start. I remember at the last Head Start conference that I was at, it was during the NCAA basketball tournament, and the most valuable player of that whole tournament, one of the things he proclaimed that allowed him to become the success he is, he said, was Head Start. He was a Head Start graduate.
So we have an accomplished number of examples of the product of the Head Start. Statistics that have been done by national studies have proven that people that go through Head Start are less likely to drop out of school, they are more likely to finish school and go on to higher education, they are less likely to become involved in teenage pregnancy, and I can go on and on with all the things you have probably heard, but that does not make any less the concern you have for a particular program.
If they are spending the kind of money you are saying that they are, per student, then I think that program needs to be looked at, because the national average, I can assure you, is nowhere near that. So I would think that we, as a Committee and the Committee of jurisdiction, that has oversight responsibilities over that program, ought to be able to take a look at your particular program.
We are going to a program here in the near future in Texas which has not been run ideally, and we want to take a look at that, possibly for the information we gather from that, to improving Head Start and making sure situations like that do not occur.
SEE APPENDIX C -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE HON. MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Mica. Thank you, Mr. Martinez. Again, I am very laudatory of Head Start. I am not here to bash Head Start. I am here to tell you that a parent and members of their advisory board came to me and expressed concern that under Federal regulations and Federal law they had to have all of these positions, 22 positions. I only have 25 so-called teachers. Here are 22 positions. There are like three health food specialists, or whatever is required, to decide that they get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; and they are getting $20,000 to $29,000. That is why I do not have enough money to put a certified teacher in the program.
Los Angeles may work fine, Chicago may work fine. I do not want to interfere with what you are doing; go on and do it. But I am telling you that in order to run a program and our school board does not even want to participate any more. They are shopping this out because of the Federal regulations and the morass.
The majority of counties in this country are small counties, and we have real problems in our rural counties, but we are forcing them into this bureaucratic morass of positions that we do not need in this fashion. Not that we do not want to give some of these services to these kids on an individualized basis, and we may have to do that. We may even have to contract out.
And I am not saying, do everything I have recommended. I have a proposal for vouchers, I have a proposal for block grants, we have a proposal for choice. Just let us try to do this. And you do not even have to do it for the whole country. Do it in a few districts and see what the results happen to be.
But I am telling you the reason we do not have the money to put qualified people in these positions is because I am spending it on and, you know, they have their little way of getting around the administrative costs to create every other kind of cockamamie position you can think of. We do not need them, we do not want them; we are just asking for a little bit of flexibility to let us try to do our own thing and then, if it works, my God, we might try it somewhere else and it may be cost effective.
Mr. Martinez. Just let me close by saying, because I see my time has run out, in fact, in many cases I have found that when people accuse the Federal Government and the regulations from the Federal Government in forcing them to do something, if you really look closely, it is not the Federal regulations causing them or forcing them to do any of that, it is their misinterpretation of that Federal regulation.
I can assure you, in law, it is concrete that you cannot use more than 15 percent towards administrative costs. Now, how do they get to the salaries of $40- and $80,000 apiece for those 22 staff people out of 15 percent of the administrative cost of the budget they are given? Explain that to me, if you can, because they cannot. In other words, they are doing something wrong, and they need to be looked at and scrutinized very closely as to how they are running their program. That is the responsibility of the overseer of the program.
Mr. Mica. I went to Atlanta myself and I said, this is ridiculous. They said, you have to have all these positions or you cannot be certified. So here are the positions; it does not lie. Here is the budget approved in Atlanta and here are the required positions. Just look through these.
A program with 470 students does not need 22 positions. Now, some are strictly administrative, and then they have this, like I said, three health specialists, and here are the positions. And these are all required in order to participate in the program.
I have been to Atlanta, talked to these folks, tried to get some waiver; and they said, you pass the laws and you pass the regulations, and these are the rules. You operate on this or we do not follow the program.
Mr. Martinez. We need to take a real close look at it.
Mr. Mica. I really appreciate that. And I come here really with the intent of trying to make the thing work, but in a cost-effective manner; and then, if we can, upgrade.
The other thing, too, is trying to get as many of these programs tied into universities and postgraduate education programs where you have some of the best expertise.
We are finding out more and more, too, in education that the younger the students get this exposure, the better job we can do. So getting that expertise in there, and not just a monitoring system, we can change these lives dramatically at an early stage. Thank you.
Chairman Riggs. I want to observe, I think you had some very constructive and thoughtful suggestions, and perhaps they are ones that would allow us to build upon the recent I do not want to call them "discoveries," but the recent research on early childhood development, particularly brain development.
I want to point out to my good friend and colleague, the ranking member, that under the current act, 50 percent of the quality improvement funds can be used to and I am quoting from the act now, "...to improve the compensation (including benefits) of staff of Head Start agencies."
So that is current law, and that might explain how we get salaries in the range of $40- to $80,000.
Mr. Martinez. That is only if the appropriation exceeds 25 percent of the preceding year's appropriation.
Chairman Riggs. Correct. But appropriations have been going up steadily for Head Start, something I very much support, and which has, I think, attracted strong bipartisan support in the Congress.
Let me turn to our fellow Committee member and colleague, Congressman Scott.
Congressman Scott, both the ranking member and I deferred our opening statements out of respect for the tight time schedules of our colleagues as well, but if you would like to make an opening statement and/or pose questions to our colleagues, please proceed. You are recognized.
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think I interpreted a mild hint in your comments. Let me just ask one question of Mr. Mica.
In your statement, you indicated that the private programs cost on average about $2,200 less. Is that the tuition cost for nonprofits or for-profits?
Mr. Mica. Both. I think there are some for-profits we looked at. We did a complete study of every preschool program in the area parochial, some private, some for-profit. We just averaged those out. I have two fantastic I mean, the places that the wealthiest people in town put their kids in preschool; they are looking at $1,000 difference.
Mr. Scott. Are you talking tuition?
Mr. Mica. $1,000 less to put them in the very best program.
Mr. Scott. Are you talking tuition or the cost?
Mr. Mica. The tuition. And that includes some of the other things that are provided in Head Start.
The other thing, too, is we even compared the hours. If you are in Head Start, you are going to more than likely be a single mother, and our goal is to get these people into the mainstream, having them working, whether they are a single mother or a single father. So the Head Start program that we have does not give as much time in the program as some of the other ones. They had to be there at such-and-such a time and out such-and-such a time. The others were longer and year-round.
Mr. Scott. Trying to comply with the Chairman's hint, if you could provide us with that, because a lot of the estimates of costs mention tuition and do not factor in the fact that a lot of the programs are very much subsidized by foundations or churches or otherwise. And some of the for-profits have admissions requirements where they do not have to deal with some of the more difficult problems like special education. So if we can get that, we could better be able to evaluate that.
Mr. Mica. Be glad to.
SEE APPENDIX D -- INFORMATION REGARDING HEAD START PROVIDED BY CONGRESSMAN MICA
Mr. Scott. With that, Mr. Chairman, I would yield back the balance of my time.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Congressman Scott. And I did not mean to cut you off, because I am, actually, going to ask a question or two. So if you want to use your entire time allotment, you are certainly welcome to.
What I would like to do on the second and very brief go-round here is ask Representative Sanchez's help, since she has a very unique perspective indeed, I guess the most unique amongst our colleagues, on how we can increase performance standards in the reauthorization of Head Start.
We have had considerable discussion about establishing minimum levels of education performance standards. We had a joint House-Senate hearing on the Senate side to sort of, if you will, commence deliberation of the Head Start reauthorization; and at that hearing Professor E.D. Hirsch, Jr., of the University of Virginia testified and gave us some very specific and very concrete recommendations on how we can establish, at least as he put it, "minimum levels" of required education performance standards.
But what caught me a moment ago and I want to be sure I am clear on this you, in your testimony, referred to Head Start as a comprehensive program of social services, early childhood development and health care all rolled into one; and then you went on and talked about how it also addresses family needs as well as the child's needs by offering health, nutritional and social services. But I am struck that there is no real reference to the fact of Head Start being principally an educational program. Just a moment ago the ranking member, I think, made some similar remarks along those lines.
We want to strengthen the academic component of Head Start reauthorization. Is that a fundamental point of disagreement? Do you not believe Head Start is principally an educational program?
Ms. Sanchez. Not at all, Mr. Chairman. In fact, going back to my experience, I went into a classroom situation in Head Start, as I said, never having spoken a word, and came out pretty fluent in English, to tell you the truth, after about 6 weeks. So the answer is that, of course, Head Start should have and does have very educational components.
I have been to many of the classes, probably all of the classes that we have in Orange County, to visit and to see what goes on, and in my opinion my personal opinion, but again I do not have an education degree there are things that we could even enhance in Head Start.
For example, I truly believe that all children should be exposed to as much American culture as possible from the very beginning. I am talking about classrooms I have been in where there are not just Hispanic kids, for example, but I have a large Vietnamese population, of 93 languages spoken at home, where kids when they enter kindergarten in my area, they come from 93 different language backgrounds. So I do believe that it is an important place to begin their education.
But what I was speaking to earlier about families and the needs are what I saw happening in my family and what I continue to see happening in these families that I have, in particular in my district, and that is that many people come without a knowledge of the American school system.
My parents did not have that knowledge. They did not know that the right thing to do when your kid turns seven or whatever is that you put them into Little League and you begin to teach them about apple pie and home runs. They just do not have that cultural background. So what is important about Head Start is that it brings the parent in.
As I said, while I was the only one to go to Head Start, the fact of the matter is, my parents have seven children, and that allowed them to understand the process and to talk to parents, not just the ones who were living next door to them, but the parents of other children and those who were mainstream already. That is the importance that I was talking about when I said it is a social program, a social skills program.
There definitely is an educational component, and I would be for strengthening it even more. I happen to be one of the few people probably that thinks phonics is important for children as at early an age as possible. And I would love to see even more emphasis in some areas, even in Head Start, let alone K through 12. But what is happening now in the type of education the kids are getting in that classroom is doing a phenomenal job for our children, at least in Orange County.
All of my school districts come to me, almost every teacher and every superintendent-administrator that has seen the difference between a Head Start kid and a kid that is not prepared, or even a kid that has been prepared in a private preschool situation, and they tell me all the time, they always prefer to get the Head Start kid.
Chairman Riggs. Fine. I don't disagree. And we will ask our next panel of witnesses what we can do to sustain those gains that Head Start children make as they enter the public school system.
Let me follow up on that point you made. If you agree that one of the principal purposes of Head Start is the social assimilation of Head Start children into the I think you put it, "the mainstream of American culture," do you agree then that most conversation, particularly the conversation with respect to instruction or teaching and learning, should be primarily in English as opposed to the child's native language?
Ms. Sanchez. I would hope that you would have someone in the classroom who would be able to deal with a child in his or her native language. I want kids to learn English. It is probably the most important thing that you can teach a child in America these days. But you cannot compensate for every situation. I may have three Vietnamese-speaking kids come into my Head Start class, 14 Hispanics, and some from Bulgaria or something. So you are not always going to be able to have the perfect situation.
I look at the American education system, and I think it is really one of the few places where the client has changed. The client is coming from a different background now, at least where I live, and we have not changed the dynamics of what is happening in the classroom to address that.
One of them is we need bilingual teachers in Head Start and every other place. If that is the majority of the kind of kids we are getting in, you should not put a 4-1/2-year-old in a classroom situation where no one speaks Spanish. Especially if the majority of the kids are walking in there and speaking Spanish, and the mother is dropping them off for the day, you are not going to get anywhere.
Chairman Riggs. But you agree that the majority of the instructional time should be in English?
Ms. Sanchez. Well, if they can understand English at that point, let's do it in English. But if there is a transition to be made, then you are going to have to teach them in their native language.
Chairman Riggs. Let me ask you one more time on this idea of competition and vouchers. As I understand it, one of the principal arguments that voucher opponents make is that it violates the church-state separation. Yet in your testimony, I think you even spoke of a Head Start program being run by or out of a Methodist church.
Ms. Sanchez. That is right, it is run out of the school site of the Methodist church, and they are there as a tenant landlord to the Head Start program there. It was the only available classroom space we could find. Thank God we could find it.
But these people are just as thrilled if the child graduates from Head Start and goes into their program as in a parochial K-through-12 system. We are not adverse in Orange County to working with all of our school systems. As a Congresswoman sitting on the Education Committee, I am responsible, I think, in my opinion, for policymaking for all of our children, whether they go to parochial school or whether they go to the public school system.
Chairman Riggs. Congressman Martinez.
Mr. Martinez. I do not want to prolong our colleagues' stay at the witness table, but I want to mention a couple of things, because it seems like we are always in this same quandary as to whether or not Head Start is an education program or a social program.
Head Start is a social program. It has an educational component, but it is a social program. Because the purpose of the program is to essentially bring the child up to speed and get him ready to learn when he gets to the public school or parochial school. But it also is to bring the family up to speed.
We have seen a number of cases over the years that have been testified to before this Committee, that have shown that component of it to be so important as to take people who might not ever have been that interested in their child's education, not only be interested in their child's education, but be interested in their own.
We had a lady testify before us at the LACO board meeting room in Los Angeles who, when she got her child enrolled in Head Start and realized how important it was for her to be involved in her child's education, and in order to do that she had to be educated, that she went back to school and at the time she testified before us was completing her Ph.D.
Now, here is a black single mother who has gone from a dropout to a Ph.D. Now, that should describe as well as anybody could describe the social aspect of that program.
So let us not get confused that this should simply be an educational program. It was never intended to be that from the beginning. It is to bring the entire family into the mainstream of our society.
Ms. Sanchez. Mr. Martinez, if I could add on to that. I would agree. Because there is an education component, I think that is important. But I think of it all as an educational experience. For my family it was; for my parents it was. For my family to have the ability to make sure that their kids made the most of the public school system, enough to graduate artists and CEOs and the whole works, it was very successful.
It was not just about learning English in the classroom or doing your ABCs, it was all the other components, including, as I said earlier, learning what peanut butter and celery was all about.
Mr. Mica. Mr. Martinez, my family on both sides were immigrants. My grandfather, I am one generation removed from immigrant families. My grandmother's family was Italian and grandfather's was Slovak, and I can imagine what would have happened to my parents and my family if we had a Head Start program, and the Italians had sent their kids to a Head Start program where they just had an opportunity to associate with Italian kids from the same rough background and experience rather than being immersed in society.
I can imagine my grandfather from the tough First Ward and the Slavic background, if he had been put in a program where he just had exposure to that Slavic language and culture, if that is what we want to do, some of these programs we are doing a great job just to keep them exposed as little as possible.
Again, I will let everybody do what they want to do. I am here to say that some of us who have a need who would like to change this rather than spend the $40,000 to $80,000 on administrators, I would like to spend it on the best education professionals.
I tend to think below the age of 5 that education is an incredible component here, and if we haven't emphasized it, we should.
And Ms. Sanchez, she said what happened to her in a short time in that program, if you go into some of these programs today and look at what they are doing, and not everyone is the same, they are not immersing them in our society. They are not immersing them in our culture, and they are not giving them access to the best educational and developmental resources that we have available. I thank you.
Mr. Martinez. I appreciate your view, although I disagree with it.
When I went to school, it wasn't Head Start, it was kindergarten, and it was largely Hispanic. We didn't get immersed in our cultural differences. We became proud of our first heritage, which was American.
I come from a varied background. My mother was half Irish. My father was a quarter Ute and a quarter French. I was raised in a family that was traditional, even though it had diversity, I was raised with the Hispanic background and culture. And as a result, when I went to school, that is what I enjoyed mostly with my classmates. And I think with all of that diverse background, I wave only one flag, and it is red, white and blue.
I always talk about my ancestors as being in this country for generations and generations, except for my grandfather who came from Ireland, and I can't do anything about that. I learned that from school in those classes. I didn't learn to wave the Mexican flag. I learned to wave the American flag. The first thing that they taught us in school was to say, "I pledge allegiance to the flag." And at the end of it, "and justice for all." In this country we haven't seen justice for all because of antiquated thinking about isolation.
People who isolate themselves choose to isolate themselves. Immigrants like your parents, they didn't want to isolate themselves. They wanted their children to become assimilated into that American society and to learn English because they knew how important it was for them to succeed in this new society that they accepted as their own and this new country as their home. I don't think that there is this isolation as a result.
You will find classes, if you go to Kentucky, we have somebody here from Lexington or Louisville, Kentucky, and people that will testify on their Head Start experience they were not of a minority, they were white because it is a program for disadvantaged youth, regardless of your color.
If you are white, disadvantaged, those are the people who are going to be served. If you go into a Hispanic neighborhood, you are going to see the majority is Hispanic. You may see Asians. So the minority separation is there simply because of the district or the neighborhood that they live in, not because they are trying to get isolated from the values of America; and the programs of Head Start are not trying to isolate them into their own cultures, they are trying to bring them up to speed with American values and cultures.
Mr. Mica. Do you think that the parents should be forced then, who have just the choice to send them to that one program?
Mr. Martinez. I think the parents should have the choice to send them wherever they want.
Chairman Riggs. Congressman Scott?
Mr. Scott. We have invited people from all over the country to testify today. I would like to receive their testimony. I thank the colleagues for testifying.
I would want to make one brief comment on the Head Start program located in a church. As our colleague from California said, the church is a the program is a tenant. The students who go to that program are not taught sectarian information. They are not required to participate in certain religious activities. So that is not a violation, and I don't want to get caught up because it happens to be located in the church. I would hope that we would not use that as an excuse to violate the Constitution which was not amended to allow sectarian programs to be funded. With that, I would yield back the balance of my time.
Chairman Riggs. I thank the gentleman.
I would note for the record that a majority of the House did vote, although it fell short of the two-thirds necessary under law.
Mr. Scott. And we can be thankful to our forefather's for requiring a two-thirds vote and for that foresight.
Chairman Riggs. As I prepare to excuse our two colleagues who have been tremendous witnesses, I think, Representative Sanchez, I think it is important for the record to make sure that we understand just a little bit about your personal background. Were you fluent in English when you began the Head Start program?
Ms. Sanchez. I hadn't spoken a word in English or Spanish.
Chairman Riggs. What language was spoken in your home?
Ms. Sanchez. Spanish.
Chairman Riggs. You are the only one of your seven siblings that actually participated in the Head Start program?
Ms. Sanchez. That is correct.
Chairman Riggs. I would like to extend the invitation to both of you to work with the Subcommittee as we proceed with the reauthorization, particularly with respect to strengthening the educational component of Head Start.
We are, I think, very committed to promoting school readiness, which I think you both spoke of, by enhancing the social and cognitive development of low-income children who participate in the Head Start program, although you approach it obviously from very different perspectives. We thank you both for being here, and you are excused.
Ms. Sanchez. Mr. Chairman, I would like to add one other thing for the record.
I think one of the greatest things about the Head Start program is, believe it or not, that you don't come out of the program ever considering or at least I didn't that I was from a minority or disadvantaged or below the poverty line.
I always thought it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me, and it wasn't until I read 4 or 5 years ago in the newspaper that Head Start was a poverty program that I realized that I would have been considered poor when I was growing up.
I think it does a great service to kids in not labeling them or making them feel inferior. It is a very positive program.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you.
I call forward Panel II, Dr. Joyner, Dr. Zigler, Dr. Snow, Ms. Freeman, Dr. Horn, Ms. Dollar and Ms. Aguilar. As you settle in, I will return here momentarily.
We now turn to our second panel of witnesses. We have a big panel here with, collectively, a very, very broad perspective and experience with respect to the Head Start program. So what we are going to do is proceed right down the panel, solicit your testimony, and feel free to speak informally. You don't have to adhere to your written statement which will be published in its entirety in the official record or transcript of today's proceedings.
When we complete the testimony of each of our witnesses, we will then proceed to have some interactions, some give and take because we find that the question and the answers, as perhaps the exchange with our two colleagues just illustrated, is the most valuable and important part of the hearings.
Dr. Carlotta Joyner is the Director of Education and Employment Issues at the U.S. General Accounting Office here in Washington, D.C.
Thank you for being here, and we know that you have looked closely and continue to look closely at the Head Start program. You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF DR. CARLOTTA JOYNER, DIRECTOR, EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
Ms. Joyner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. And I am very pleased to be here today to discuss our work on Head Start.
As you know, this 30-year program is widely viewed as one of the most successful social programs including an educational component of our time, and this program, in its effort to improve the social competence of children, has provided a very wide array of services educational, medical, mental health, social services to over 16 million children since its inception at a cost of more than $38 billion. The funding for the program has been increased from 1.5 billion in 1990 to about $4 billion in 1997 and is now poised for major expansion.
It is because of that major expansion, as well as the congressional interest in reauthorizing it at this time, and the Government Performance and Results Act, which has increased the focus on this and other program on results; all of that, we believe, provides a good setting to consider the two things that are in my written statement.
Two issues: One is how well the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers this program, can ensure and is ensuring that the Head Start program is achieving its purpose; and the second is how well the program is structured to meet the needs of program participants today, a society that is quite different from when it was first created.
My statement is based on two GAO reports, as well as an ongoing study that we are doing at your request that looks at HHS procedures to ensure accountability not only for compliance with laws and regulations, but for achieving program purposes.
Let me take a moment to describe just what we mean when we talk about achieving program purposes. I really mean two things. One is whether the program has achieved the outcomes that were intended and desired, such as improved language skills.
And the second, as well, is whether the program has an impact on children and their families. And when we use that term, we are distinguishing here that these differences that occurred would not have occurred if the child and the family had not been participating in Head Start.
In summary, Head Start over the years has provided a comprehensive array of services that, especially in the early years, would have not have been received by these children and their families. In addition, as envisioned by the Results Act, Head Start has substantially increased its emphasis in recent years on determining the results of those services. Head Start is still faced with challenges in two areas; one is in demonstrating program results and another is responding to changes in society.
Let me say a bit more about each of those points.
HHS has increased its focus on results. It now has a performance assessment framework that includes measurable objectives for how the program will be implemented, such as how it will deliver the educational and other services, and also for outcomes such as enhancing children's growth which is one outcome objective, and the other is strengthening families as the primary nurturers of their children.
Overall, we believe their approach is methodologically and conceptually sound, their approach to assessing these outcome objectives. It has new initiatives that will, in the next few years, provide information not previously available at all on the specific measures and performance indicators they will get this primarily through a national study of a representative sample of Head Start children and their families called the Family and Child Experiences Survey. It will collect data at the beginning of program participation, at the end of each year, and then at the end of kindergarten. For example, the study will show what kind of gains the children have made in their language skills and so forth.
But it will be collecting information only at the national level. At the local level, HHS does not require individual Head Start agencies to demonstrate that they have achieved these or other outcome goals objectives of the program, although it has said that it intends to do so in the future.
In addition, we are concerned that the study's comparisons may be with groups not similar enough to the group of families and children in Head Start with the result that we will still be it will be difficult still to draw conclusions about whether the improvement was actually caused by that participation or by some differences in the groups or some other experiences that they have had.
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Joyner, let me do something I don't normally do and that is interrupt a witness just on one point. I thought just a moment ago you said that you thought their study was methodologically sound?
Ms. Joyner. Yes, sir, for one purpose which is to collect data on the outcomes.
It will be it is a national sample, and it will be it is a sound approach. That particular study is a sound approach to gathering a national picture of the outcomes being achieved. I also would say that beyond that particular study, the whole approach of having clearly stated objectives and measures and indicators is sound and important.
The distinction that I am making is that we will still be left without data at a local level. For example, to go back to Congressman Mica's example, we still will not know what result was achieved with children at any particular local grantee. Even though some grantees are funded at more than a million dollars a year, they are held accountable to do certain things in certain ways. They are held accountable to have funded certain positions and to meet certain standards. What we won't know is whether those children learned anything. That is the distinction that I am making.
Also, in the national sample, in the national study, we will know that these children have better language skills at the end than they had at the beginning; and they are making some comparisons, attempting to make up for the lack of a really rigorous comparison group. So they are attempting to make up for not having that by making some multiple comparisons.
But our concern is this is a large program anticipated or desired to grow larger. We think that it warrants a more rigorous look at whether the program is causing the difference, given that it is more costly, by and large, than other programs, and so that is why we have repeatedly recommended that there be a study that would go beyond this one in that regard.
The other challenge that Head Start faces is to respond appropriately to the changed social environment, and this was alluded to already in the hearing today as well. The fact that, in comparison with 30 years ago, more of the children are in homes with a single parent who is now working outside the home and there is a growing need for full-day, full-year care, but Head Start is predominantly part-day, part-year. And they are aware of this and have been grappling with this, but it does pose a challenge for not only how to take care of the children the rest of the time, but how to allow sort of a fundamental part of Head Start, which is involvement of the parent, how to continue that if the parent is working full time.
And also another very significant difference is, there are a lot more other programs out there, as has already been alluded to in the hearing as well. There are other programs that provide specific services, and in this regard, I think it is important to note that Head Start, by and large, with the exception of the educational component, is not actually delivering these other services in the comprehensive array. They are providing for them, they are making linkages and in fact they are required to do this. The first step is to find out if someone else in the community is offering it: If Medicaid will pay for it, don't pay for immunizations yourself. That is part of their mandate.
So the cost of the program is what they had to pay for themselves, not what they were able to leverage or broker elsewhere, and they are much more able to do that than in the past.
There are many other programs which provide comprehensive services such as Head Start. And there are some States that have statewide programs, Georgia and Ohio.
So the world is quite different now. Our concern is that Head Start has to respond to this. The Congress needs to take this into consideration in deciding what, if any, changes might need to be made in the program, and our concern is that you may be lacking some of the information which would be helpful, such as how many programs are there, what are they doing in comparison with what Head Start is doing, what are the real needs of the parents; and we would hope that you are able to get that through hearings or that Head Start can find out in some way to help with the decision-making.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Dr. Joyner.
SEE APPENDIX E -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. CARLOTTA JOYNER, DIRECTOR, EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
Chairman Riggs. We now turn to Dr. Edward Zigler, who is Director of the Yale Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Zigler is a renowned expert in the field of early childhood development and education and is widely regarded as the father of Head Start. Please proceed with your testimony.
STATEMENT OF DR. EDWARD ZIGLER, DIRECTOR, YALE BUSH CENTER IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL POLICY, YALE UNIVERSITY
Mr. Zigler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to speak before this Committee on how to make our Nation's Head Start program better and on how to assess our progress toward that goal.
When I sat on the Committee that planned Head Start back in the early 1960s, we did not have much evidence to prove that comprehensive services and parent involvement could help prepare young children living in poverty for their entry into school. We put these components into Head Start because of our professional hunches, hunches that have now been amply justified in the scientific literature.
And we certainly were not privy to the recent knowledge on how important the early years are to brain development. We were not aware that ages between birth and eight presents a window of opportunity for the actual wiring or structuring of the brain. We did suspect that earlier and more are better, which is why we planned Head Start for 3-to-5-year-olds.
Over the years, the number of 5-year-olds who attend has dwindled as public kindergarten has become more widely available. Unfortunately, the percentage of 3-year-olds has also declined, largely because program expansion has concentrated on children about to enter school. So today Head Start is primarily just a program for 4-year-olds. I am afraid that we are being lured back to the inoculation model, thinking that if we give young children a little bit of Head Start, their brains will develop to full capacity.
The human brain develops throughout life. Age 4 is important, but so are the years that come before and after. Gradually expanding early Head Start for children from birth up to age 3 would be responsive to the new findings on brain development, and so would be reopening Head Start's doors to more 3-year-olds as well as the 4s it currently serves. Ages 5 to 8 can be served by a larger Head Start public school transition program, which puts the elements of effective intervention into school practices.
For any intervention to be effective, it must be of high quality. Quality is clearly related to the child outcomes that we find when we assess these programs. Head Start has long suffered uneven quality, but I am happy to say that this is turning around.
A milestone event in Head Start's history was the work of the Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion, a Committee on which I served. This bipartisan group provided a road map for the Clinton administration on how to improve the program. Olivia Golden, Helen Taylor and other officials turned the panel's advice into action.
For the first time in over 30 years, poor programs have been closed, and marginal centers have been put on probation and are receiving technical assistance. After more than 2 decades, the program performance standards have been revised to reflect new knowledge and best practices. Congress has renewed the quality set-aside to enhance salaries, benefits and facilities.
I am very pleased with this process. Head Start definitely is improving. Yet today I want to point out to you one area that needs more attention. Congressman Mica actually made this point very clearly this morning, and I agree with him. A fact that is not very well known, since day one early childhood educators have been unhappy with the quality of the preschool education component in Head Start. Part of their concern is about staff qualifications. Only about half of Head Start's teachers have a college degree, a degree that is mandatory in most private early childhood centers, as well as public preschools.
Many staff do have CDAs, which was invented in my day, although that number is not high enough because of the expense and low availability of scholarships. Many poor women who work in Head Start simply don't have the $300-plus to get the training. But the real problem, I think, is the qualifications we demand of Head Start teachers. The CDA is simply not enough.
Without better compensation, better trained teachers go elsewhere leaving less qualified staff in charge. Just as Congressman Mica would like B.A.-level people, I would, too; but you are not going to pay them with the average pay of Head Start, which is $17,000 for a teacher. The average pay for a teacher in elementary school is about $33,000. I believe there will always be a place for CDAs in classrooms, they should be headed by professionals who are paid a worthy wage.
The type of education delivered in Head Start is also of suspect quality. The planners, including me, did not mandate a specific curriculum because we had no proof that any one curriculum was better than any other. In fact, over 20 years ago when I was a Federal official responsible for Head Start, I studied the effects of various curricula used in Head Start and found no particular model superior.
The same held true in follow-through, which was a planned curriculum variation experiment. Yet because we imposed no curriculum, what happened is that many centers in the early days never bothered to write one at all. They just did whatever came to mind each day.
The new performance standards wisely require a written plan. This has sparked a huge debate among those who recommend a structured, cognitively oriented curriculum versus those who prefer a play-based, individualized, developmentally appropriate model. The latter type has long been used by Head Start, is endorsed by the NAEYC, and was found to have lasting benefits right here in the D.C. public schools where they tested one model against the other.
Still, I believe that if we really knew which type was better, we would have advanced it long ago. What type of curriculum works best, with which students, is an empirical question, and it is time that we answered it empirically.
Head Start is a national laboratory for the development of quality practices. We should use this natural experiment to address the curriculum issue. We can look at child outcomes in centers using various educational methods to see who fares the best. This type of national evaluation study would be more doable than a massive random assignment study a format that the Blueprint and Roundtable panels and many respected scholars have recommended against. It would also be more informative to local councils who could look at the results of different curricula in centers with populations and philosophies similar to their own.
Of course, knowing the success of an educational method depends on what we mean by success. We cannot decide if a program works unless we know what its goal is. To me, it is clear that Head Start's goal has always been school readiness, sometimes referred to as social competence. Readiness basically entails good health and sound cognitive and socioemotional development.
The Head Start bureau is in the process of developing readiness and other performance measures to be used to evaluate quality and child outcomes in Head Start classrooms. That is the FACES effort. These measures can have two valuable uses. One is a tool of quality control; if outcomes in a center are not up to standards, assistance can be offered. Second, a national sample of performance on these measures would be available annually and would enable us to continually assess the program's efficacy.
Research funds have always been scarce in Head Start. They should be increased so we can conduct the naturalistic study of curricula I discussed and continue developing outcome measures that can be used for both accountability and service improvements. Thank you.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Dr. Zigler, for being here today and for your testimony and for your pioneer work in this field.
SEE APPENDIX F -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. EDWARD ZIGLER, DIRECTOR, YALE BUSH CENTER IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL POLICY, YALE UNIVERSITY
Chairman Riggs. Our next witness is Dr. Catherine Snow. She is the Henry Lee Shaddick Professor of Education and Chair of Human Development of Psychology at Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the chair of the Committee on Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, which produced an extensive report by the same name. Please proceed with your testimony.
STATEMENT OF DR. CATHERINE SNOW, CHAIR, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOLOGY, HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Ms. Snow. Thank you. It is a great pleasure to be here.
I am speaking here specifically from the perspective of someone interested in literary development and in preventing reading difficulties. And what I would like to bring to the Committee's attention is the importance of the preschool period, the period during which children are in Head Start programs, in ensuring the development of skills which are relevant to preventing reading difficulties.
Clearly, the potential for Head Start to contribute to children's literacy success or to form part of a prevention program, preventing reading difficulties, is enormous, and I will make four points about how to improve that potential.
First of all, who are the children who will have difficulty learning to read when they get to school? The evidence is quite clear that those are children who arrive at school with poor oral language skills and with little familiarity with the conventions of print, children who arrive in kindergarten without knowing a number of the letters of the alphabet, who cannot write their own names, who don't recognize environmental print, who don't know what "stop" says on a stop sign; children who don't know about reading books, starting at the beginning and moving toward the end, who don't understand that books are a source of pleasure and a source of knowledge; children who have not had the pleasure of being read to and the children with small vocabularies.
The differences among children and the size of their vocabularies upon arrival in kindergarten are enormous. Some children know 1,000 words as 5-years-olds. Other children know 10,000 words as 5-year-olds, and those differences can entirely be accounted for by the differences in the quality of the early environments children are exposed to at home and in preschool, Head Start or other group care settings.
So given the importance of these language and early literacy skills, it is crucial that we understand how to design early childhood environments to ensure that children have access to rich language and literacy experiences. And it is possible to do that.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that parents, including low-income parents, and preschool educators, early childhood educators, can be taught how to engage in styles of book reading with children, styles of conversation with children, literacy-related activities with children that provide children with experiences that promote their language and literacy development.
In classrooms and in homes where children talk more and where they get talked to more, where they have opportunities for sociodramatic play in small groups, opportunities for one-on-one conversations with adults and where they have opportunities to look at books and be read to from books, children acquire more language and more knowledge of print conventions.
Unfortunately, poor children, children from low-income families typically encounter language and literacy impoverished environments not just at home, but also in the early childhood classrooms that they are in; and I am not speaking here exclusively of Head Start programs, but in general, the classrooms serving children from low-income families.
Early childhood classrooms, even classrooms that score quite well on dimensions of quality having to do with health, cleanliness, availability of appropriate materials, typically score much lower on measures of literacy and language environments available to the children. Those are not impossible dimensions of quality to improve, but they are dimensions of quality that can be improved only with the involvement of well-educated, well-trained adults in those classrooms.
So the fourth point is that investment in professional development of early childhood educators can improve early childhood education, but such investment is a challenging task. It is not something we can achieve with a few weeks of quick courses for future Head Start teachers. It really does require a significant educational program, because excellent early childhood educators have a wide array of understanding of skills and knowledge. They know how to talk to kids, they know how to read books to kids, they know how to select which books to read with children. They understand children's language development and their cognitive development and early literacy development, and achieving a cadre of Head Start educators who have the full array and appropriate depth of understanding of these demands requires thinking of professional development as a serious target of investment. Thank you.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Dr. Snow.
SEE APPENDIX G -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. CATHERINE SNOW, CHAIR, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOLOGY, HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Chairman Riggs. We now turn to Ms. Bonnie Freeman. She is the Assistant Director for the National Center for Family Literacy in Louisville, Kentucky, my birthplace.
Thank you for being here, Ms. Freeman. Please proceed with your testimony.
STATEMENT OF BONNIE FREEMAN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR FAMILY LITERACY, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
Ms. Freeman. I do want to say that I do represent the National Center for Family Literacy, and I want to speak today on the area of family literacy and how it can enhance and support the work of Head Start.
As my colleague, Dr. Snow, said, growing up in a literate environment is critically important, and there is a segment of our population who have parents themselves do not have the skills they need to help their children develop literacy skills. Without these essential skills, the parents cannot achieve their own goals, such as employment or citizenship, so that they can move their families out of poverty.
Comprehensive family literacy programs tackle the needs of families at the bottom end of the literacy continuum. Comprehensive family literacy services integrate the following four components: adult education or English language instruction; developmental experiences for children, birth through seven; parent education and support; and regular opportunities for parent and child interaction.
These programs provide services in an integrated approach and include the following goals: to improve basic and/or English language skills and raise the educational level of parents; to increase the development skills of preschool children and better prepare them for academic and social success in school; to improve parenting skills to enable parents to become familiar with and comfortable in school settings; and to help parents gain the motivation, skills and knowledge that contributes to becoming employed or pursue further education or training.
Head Start works with children and families in a holistic way, addressing their nutritional, cognitive and emotional development needs. Historically, Head Start has engaged parents by requesting and supporting parent involvement and giving parents the opportunity to take leadership in local programs.
Additionally, Head Start programs serve in a resource and referral capacity charged with helping parents advocate for themselves and gain access to other available assistance.
Family literacy, as developed by the National Center for Family Literacy, builds upon this strong foundation by offering intensive services for parents who are not literate or English proficient and do not possess the skills to support their child's education when the child transitions from a Head Start program to a larger school setting. It makes sure that the success of a good early childhood program will be multiplied by helping parents become the first teachers of their children and making sure that learning and messages about education are reinforced within the home.
I would like to dispel the notion that we are taking an either/or position; that is, one either supports Head Start or family literacy. Some of the biggest proponents of family literacy are Head Start providers because they have experienced how family literacy can strengthen the value of Head Start in a child's life.
The new demands of time-limited, work-oriented welfare reform are also pressing the need for more powerful interventions. Parents are meeting the responsibility of entering the work force. Modeling a work ethic to their children is one component of good parenting. The demands of work add new stress on the family unit, particularly in a single-parent household.
The parent in this situation not only needs a job, extra support and better parenting strategies, but also skills that will help them grow beyond a minimum wage job. Before the advent of the family literacy approach, a parent with poor basic skills might simply be referred to a local adult education program that is not coordinated with Head Start programs. Possibly the program hours could be complementary to the Head Start program, but they might not be. Therefore, coordinating additional child care would become a disincentive for parental participation. Transportation between different sites also became an additional challenge for the parents or the agency.
Finally, some adult educational programs didn't provide a clear strategy for helping the individual establish and achieve their own academic and career goals.
The findings from the extensive research performed on family literacy programs illustrates the success and added value that it can have with Head Start programs when comprehensively incorporated. These same findings indicate that well-implemented family literacy programs have significant and lasting effects on children and their families.
We have seen some progress in Head Start programs' seizing the opportunity to strengthen their impacts through collaborating with other agencies to offer family literacy services. Some good examples of these are in the State of Arizona, here in Washington, D.C., and in South Carolina.
In Tucson, Arizona, in 1991, the Pima County Adult Education Family Literacy Project, collaborating with Head Start, initiated three family literacy programs in elementary schools in the Sunnyside Unified School District. These programs continue today.
In Washington, D.C., there is a very successful Head Start-Family Literacy and Collaboration working out of Moten and Adams Elementary Schools, and one of the graduates of that program recently testified before the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources.
NCFL has been working with the State of South Carolina to develop and explore the role of family literacy in welfare reform, specifically with Head Start programs.
In conclusion, as the challenges facing families in poverty grows more intense, we must find models of success like Head Start and Family Literacy collaborations and work to ensure the broadest implementation possible.
During the 1994 Head Start authorization, Congress took important steps toward increasing the role of family literacy as an important strategy within Head Start.
Now we need to seriously think through practical implementation strategies and questions. We do not see the need for broad-scale legislative changes as being necessary, but we would like to recommend several refinements that would be put in place to put a stronger emphasis on assisting Head Start agencies and programs in pursuing that family literacy approach.
Our recommendations would be: Congress should insert into Head Start authorization the new working definition of Family Literacy Services that has already been included in the House Workforce Training Bill and the Reading Excellence Act. Family Literacy needs to be implemented with comprehensive and integrated services and particularly the adult education component.
For family literacy to work, Head Start can't do it alone. Effective family literacy is a collaborative undertaking; and so, therefore, we think the state collaborative process should be strengthened. We also feel that the effect of family literacy coordination can be challenging. Therefore, we suggest placing a greater emphasis on the provision of training and technical assistance within Head Start.
For a program the size of Head Start, the implementation of family literacy services cannot be done in a one-size-fits-all manner. Head Start the Head Start system needs to develop the capacity for greater collaboration and integration of services.
Therefore, significant training funding should be set aside to enable the regional Head Start offices and the State Head Start associations to develop their internal expertise as to how to effectively collaborate with other service providers, especially welfare reform agencies.
NCFL has trained over 10,000 teachers in implementing family literacy and has a certified trainer system which could support the internal training systems of existing Head Start programs. We stand ready to provide this training.
These are broad recommendations and our Washington staff is prepared to work with your staff in developing specific legislative proposals that would reflect these priorities. Thank you.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Ms. Freeman.
SEE APPENDIX H -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF BONNIE FREEMAN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR FAMILY LITERACY, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Wade Horn is currently President of the National Fatherhood Initiative in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Dr. Horn was the Assistant Secretary of Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services under the Bush administration, the position that Olivia Golden currently holds. Please proceed with your testimony.
STATEMENT OF DR. WADE HORN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE, GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND
Mr. Horn. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Two years ago this Congress passed and the President of the United States signed into law comprehensive welfare reform legislation. As part of that legislation, the purpose of that legislation was to move previously welfare-dependent heads of households, mostly single mothers, from welfare into the paid labor force.
To helps States with this task, Congress included up to $30 billion in State and Federal funding for child care over 6 years. Now, to many people, $30 billion sounds like a lot of money, but there are some who believe that $30 billion for child care is not enough, and so they are saying, we need to look elsewhere for additional child care opportunities to help with the task of welfare reform. One place to look is Head Start.
Now, coordinating government programs is never easy. Some have said that coordinating government programs is akin to requiring people to engage in unnatural acts between non-consenting adults, and coordinating Head Start with welfare reform and child care has proven to be no exception.
One of the big problems, of course, is that Head Start is a part-year, part-day program, and welfare is not designed to move people into part-day, part-year employment, and so it is unlikely that a part-day, part-year program is going to match up to large numbers of welfare-to-work participants.
In addition to that barrier, there are other barriers as well. For example, a lot of Head Start programs use double shifts so they couldn't expand to a full day program if they wanted to, at least not in the current space. They have different enrollment patterns between Head Start and welfare-to-work programs, and there are also differences in the culture missions between Head Start and welfare-to-work programs.
The difficulties that are faced by trying coordinate these various programs is illustrated by the most recent data collected by the Head Start Bureau, which suggests that 40 percent of Head Start enrollees who were in need last year of full-time, full-year child care, yet only 10 percent of those Head Start enrollees actually received full-year full-day child care through the Head Start program.
Now, this doesn't mean that there are not any effective models of coordination. Of course there are, but it does suggest that the current way of doing things makes it difficult to coordinate these programs.
Might there be a better way? Well, let me suggest two possibilities. First, we could strengthen the current Head Start State Collaboration Grants program by providing within the Head Start Act authorization for governors to seek waivers from current Head Start programmatic requirements in order to more effectively coordinate Head Start welfare reform and other funding mechanisms.
A second and, I admit, more controversial suggestion is that we at least consider the possibility of devolving Head Start from a federally administered program to a State administered program for several reasons.
First of all, Head Start has grown too large. There is simply no precedent for a $4 billion Federal-to-local grantee arrangement which touches millions of citizens within the States where the States have absolutely no say over how that program is administered to its own citizens.
Second, over the past 6 years the Federal Government has been downsizing. Both at the Federal level and at the regional offices, we have seen dramatic reductions in the number of Federal employees. This makes oversight of an expanding Head Start program even more difficult. By some estimates, as many as one-third of Head Start grantees are of inadequate quality.
Devolving Head Start to the States for their oversight would allow, in my judgment, for better oversight of the program.
Third, coordination is made especially difficult because Head Start is a federally funded and administered program, whereas the funding streams that come down for welfare-to-work programs and most child care programs pass through the States.
Devolving Head Start also to a State-administered program would allow for more effective coordination of all three of these funding streams.
And finally, there are many lessons learned from Head Start, as Dr. Zigler has pointed out; and by devolving Head Start to the States, one could have more effective cross-pollination of the lessons learned from Head Start into the broader child care communities.
I know that any program to devolve Head Start to the States would be controversial, and so it shouldn't be done controversially and it should not be done simply because I say so. There may be some who would say that it shouldn't be done especially because I say so, but rather the purpose of my offering this idea is to stimulate a discussion about why it is we are continuing to see Head Start as our only and solely federally administered and overseen program.
Perhaps there are good reasons for us to continue to do so, but one of them should not be simply because that is the way that we have already done it. Instead, we should look at the needs of low-income families and their children, especially within the context of welfare reform, and develop even more effective systems for supporting them.
Now, if I can spend 30 seconds on a second issue which is the impact of Head Start. Dr. Zigler is correct, there is a good deal of evidence that Head Start has an impact on children. There is also a large body of evidence that suggests that much of the impact of Head Start fades by the time children reached the third grade.
Now, I want to offer a little perspective here. I am a psychologist, and in my profession we throw wild parties if we can show the effects of psychotherapy last more than 6 months, so 3 years of impact of Head Start is actually quite extraordinary. But while recognizing that, I don't think that we should just simply say so it is better than psychotherapy. What we ought to do is examine ways to make the impact more long lasting.
There is no evidence that suggests that giving multiple years of Head Start has substantially more effectiveness than 1 year of Head Start. In fact, the Perry Preschool program specifically looked at this question of 1 year versus 2 years and found no difference in the impact of a Perry Preschool program, whether the children got 1 or 2 years.
I think the answer is not giving more years of Head Start; the answer is fundamentally changing the systems that they transition into, that is, the schools. That is one of the reasons when I was Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families and not the Assistant Secretary, although I appreciate the promotion, that I started the Head Start transition projects to try to change the public schools.
Unfortunately, no results of that initiative have yet been released even though it has been ongoing for 6 to 8 years. And today I recommend a bolder idea. Why not, this Congress, authorize a demonstration program, just a demonstration program, that would provide vouchers to Head Start graduates when they exit Head Start to use in the schools of their choice after they leave Head Start, and compare the effectiveness of Head Start long term with those graduates who get a voucher versus those graduates who go to the government-run public school system?
I offer these ideas not because I think Head Start is a failure. I think it is an exemplary program. I am concerned that the conditions have changed, and that Head Start needs to adjust itself to changing conditions. Thank you very much.
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Horn, thank you for your provocative testimony. We look forward to the Q and A period to follow.
SEE APPENDIX I -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. WADE HORN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE, GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND
Chairman Riggs. Our next witness is a friend and constituent. Ms. Jackie Dollar is the Director of the Napa-Solano Head Start program in Napa, California, and we are still working on a field hearing in my congressional district, hopefully at one of the Head Start facilities that Ms. Dollar oversees, that would culminate, at least at the Subcommittee level, the congressional review and hearing process leading up to the reauthorization.
The Head Start program that Ms. Dollar operates is serves the Solano and Napa County areas, as the name implies. It has centers in Fairfield, Solano County, and in Napa City, Napa County. These programs have been award winning, and Ms. Dollar recently received the Johnson & Johnson Excellence in Management Award, a national citation for the outstanding administration of an early childhood education program.
Jackie, if I can call you that, please proceed with your testimony. Thank you for being here.
STATEMENT OF JACKIE DOLLAR, DIRECTOR, NAPA-SOLANO HEAD START, NAPA, CALIFORNIA
Ms. Dollar. Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to represent Head Start practitioners who are doing extraordinary work on behalf of children and families across the country and in the trust territories.
I would like to address three areas this morning: regionalization of Head Start, community collaboration and key issues that would improve Head Start operational effectiveness.
I will begin with regionalization. In 1995, our grantee was awarded a competitive grant to operate the Head Start program in Solano County, a county contiguous to Napa, and this was due to the dissolution of the prior grantee that had been operating Head Start. The grant was awarded on September 14, 1995 and services to families began on January 30, 1996, a 4-month transition.
The impact of change on our agency was significant. It was a 400 percent increase in size, increased our family population from 200 to over 800. Our staff grew from 42 to 150 members. Funding increased from $1 million to $5 million. We grew from a bicultural, two-language program, to a multicultural eight-language program.
Our region grew from 800 square miles to a total of 1,700 square miles. The growth in the number of income-eligible families in our area increased from 800 to over 5,000. We opened 30 classrooms in addition to our existing nine, and hired over 100 staff.
The transition work elements were enormous, and I have included those in my written testimony. We also learned some incredibly valuable lessons on becoming a change agent. I have also included those in my written testimony.
The benefits to the program have been striking. Each county has benefited from the strengths of the other and the weaknesses are better addressed due to the increased, more efficient funding available through consolidation of staff, facilities and focus.
Napa-Solano Head Start continues to grow with the recent expansion into full-day, full-year capacity, and we are opening four new sites in two counties within the next 60 days. And if I can make a comment about privatization and vouchering of Head Start, we have taken a great risk because we have put ourselves in direct competition with all public and private providers within our two-county region. We have developed a universal application and a centralized waiting list, and all families are referred through the Resource and Referral Agency.
Families receive their vouchers at the R&R and have a choice of choosing any provider within our two-county area, and who are they choosing? They are choosing Head Start hands down. Our program is considered the model of all child development programs within the two-county area, and we have a fantastic waiting list for our centers that are opening July 1.
Now I would like to talk about an example of collaboration that Representative Riggs asked me to please comment on this morning.
A hallmark of Napa-Solano Head Start has been very effective results of collaborative partnerships, and I would like to describe to you just one of the many opportunities Napa-Solano Head Start has seized to create new and better services for families and children in our region.
The Fillmore Head Start Center opened in 1996 as a partnership between Head Start, the City of Fairfield, the Police Department, and the Quality Neighborhood Team. The key players included the City of Fairfield, the Police Department, the County Office of Education, and the property owners. The Quality Neighborhood Team needed the attendant services component to revitalize a decaying area, and Head Start needed a facility with a play area. Mr. Silva had vacancies, Mr. Lee had excess parking space, and we negotiated with the city to lease two apartments and the parking lot. Community Development Block Grant funds provided the play equipment. Residents of Fillmore Street and the city staff volunteered to build the playground, and Head Start converted two downstairs apartments for the center.
The Fairfield Redevelopment Agency provides rent support to Head Start, made a loan to the property owner, provides Quality Neighborhood Team staffing and funded landscaping, driveway improvements and exterior painting for all 16 buildings in the neighborhood.
The outcomes have been significant and many. Fillmore area residents have a free, reliable child and family development program. All buildings are attractive and meet building and housing codes. Property values have rebounded. Tenants are connected through a weekly newsletter. Mandatory housecleaning classes are held for every tenant. Microenterprise training is provided to interested tenants. Services for children with disabilities are coordinated on site. Regular tenant meetings and ESL classes are held. The vacancy rate has dropped from 25 percent to 3 percent. Calls for police service dropped from 300 in 1995 to less than 40 in 1997, and serious crime has been virtually eliminated.
From this project and many others we have learned some important considerations when developing partnerships, and I have also included all of those in my written testimony. That brings us to the present, and I would like to talk about some key issues for reauthorization.
Head Start has been a part of the conceptual landscape of services to family in this country for over 33 years. We have weathered some devastating challenges and have enjoyed the exhilarating crest of success. Current issues facing Head Start are diverse. From my perspective, the following are the issues that are important to address now through reauthorization.
The child care block grant compels Head Start to develop strong and effective collaborative partnerships at the State level. When partnering women, both the State and Head Start benefit from the best that each has to offer in program approach and funding. There is a strong program focus on State-Head Start full-day partnering, but the effective strategies to support that at a policy level have not been adequately addressed. I encourage you to support individual choice of partnership selection at the local level.
Second, the State-Head Start collaboration projects are well conceived in purpose and strategy but poorly funded for the larger States, such as California. Currently, the State of Vermont receives nearly the same amount of support as California. The inequities in terms of size, population, participants, travel and complexity cannot be adequately addressed. Please review funding for larger States for collaboration projects.
Third, quality child care is a key success issue for transitioning families from welfare to work. Head Start must be supported to implement this transition from part-day to full-day as appropriate at the local level. Child care and a job do not necessarily create a healthy family. Head Start must be funded to continue to provide the comprehensive family services necessary for many families to be successful employees and good parents. To meet family needs, programs must be supported to address seamless services, birth to school age, through existing funding and also through expansion grants.
Fourth, the income eligibility of families in Head Start remains one of the lowest of all social service programs. This is particularly critical in States with high-cost-of-living areas. A review of the income eligibility and its effect on full-day, full-year participation for working families must be addressed in order to respond to the changing needs of the individual communities served. Currently, a single mom with one child working 40 hours a week at McDonalds on minimum wage is not income eligible for Head Start.
Fifth, program monitoring is a crucial factor in Head Start, maintaining the high quality reputation it has earned. Each qualified Head Start director must be encouraged to participate as a member of the peer monitoring process. Regional offices must be supported in raising the leverage for poor performing grantees. The unevenness in Head Start programs must be addressed and programs assisted with enhanced training opportunities to achieve the level of accountability dictated by the revised performance standards.
Last, but by no means of least importance, the relationship of Head Start programs to their grantee agencies must be reviewed. When Head Start was granted in 1965, they were small, short-term, underfunded demonstration projects. The situation has dramatically changed and, in many cases, Head Start programs have grown much larger than the agencies funded to govern them. The regional offices must support programs to address the inequities of the grantee relationship that is often an inefficient and unnecessary layer of administration.
The mission of Head Start is clear: to break the cycle of disparity by preparing young, low-income children and their families to better succeed in life; and this mission has not changed since 1965. Because of this clarity of purpose and nationally acclaimed success, Head Start continues to generate tremendous excitement and commitment throughout our local communities. Our program alone had 210,000 hours of volunteer support and over $1,400,000 of in-kind demonstrations this program year alone.
Head Start is defined as a comprehensive program that addresses the needs of the whole child, and this always includes the needs of the child's family. What is most extraordinary is the extent to which Head Start generates the loyalty and respect of the people and communities it serves. If there is a secret to Head Start's success, it is that Head Start staff enters into a compassionate partnership with each parent to shape the future of the child.
Services to children are not provided without the active and intense participation of the family. Even a strong partnership formed between the parent, the child, and the Head Start staff cannot succeed without the committed involvement of the local community. Because of this, a significant part of the Head Start mission is also to partner with public, private and corporate entities to effectively move families to personal responsibility, self-sufficiency and active community involvement.
Community development itself is the result of an actively supported community-based program. While the child is in Head Start, families are being supported and connected to community resources. Families demonstrate willing and active participation in improving their circumstance and moving from isolation to connection with a social and working network.
In summary, Head Start builds strong families and strong families build healthy communities. I thank you.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you very much, Ms. Dollar.
SEE APPENDIX J -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF JACKIE DOLLAR, DIRECTOR, NAPA-SOLANO HEAD START, NAPA, CALIFORNIA
Chairman Riggs. I now recognize the ranking member to introduce our final witness.
Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is my pleasure to introduce Ms. Yolie Flores Aguilar, the President of the Los Angeles County Board of Education. We are fortunate that she was able to come all this way to provide us with the views of the largest Head Start program in the country and to share her wealth of experience in early childhood issues.
Mr. Chairman, let me elaborate on her wealth of experience. Prior to being appointed to the board in 1995, Ms. Aguilar was the Director of Child Care for the City of Los Angeles. She continues her efforts in this area by working with the National Economic Development and Law Center in helping communities develop child care programs.
In addition, Ms. Aguilar is a consultant through the Annie E. Casey Foundation on Child Care and Latino Children's Issues. She is also an executive member of the Children's Planning Council, a founder and director of the National Latino Alliance, and a board member of the Pediatric and Family Medical Center of Los Angeles Roundtable for Children.
Thank you, Ms. Aguilar, for coming all this way and joining us today. I think I can safely say that the lives of our children throughout Los Angeles County are enriched by your work. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Riggs. Of course
STATEMENT OF YOLIE FLORES AGUILAR, PRESIDENT, LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY ANDREW KENNEDY, DIRECTOR, LACOE'S HEAD START-STATE PRESCHOOL DIVISION
Ms. Aguilar. Thank you, Mr. Martinez. Chairman Riggs, Congressman Martinez and members of the Subcommittee, good afternoon. Thank you for the very generous and kind introduction.
As Mr. Martinez indicated, I am President of the Los Angeles County Board of Education, also known as LACOE. You will hear me refer to LACOE throughout. LACOE operates the largest Head Start program in the Nation, serving 4,000 square miles of the County of Los Angeles. We contract with 15 school districts, 15 private nonprofit agencies, and two city governments to provide direct, comprehensive services to over 21,000 Head Start-eligible children and families, and we have been providing innovative family services for Head Start-eligible families since 1979.
It is a pleasure to be here today to present our recommendations on Head Start reauthorization. Before I outline our recommendations, I would like to highlight some of the innovative programs that we operate.
Our Head Start regionalized family services program has expanded services to the entire family, based on the premise that parents are the foundation of their children's success and are the primary resource for building strong families for America's future. This program uses a case management approach providing comprehensive, participant-directed services designed to promote family literacy, family wellness, and meaningful employment.
Our direct services home-based program provides an opportunity for parent involvement to influence their child's development in education. Parents learn about child development and parenting skills and how to access community resources medical, dental, mental health and other social services through home visits, group activities and training sessions.
We have also developed a partnership with the JTPA program to provide training, field work and course work leading to employment for selected Head Start parents as instructional assistants or Head Start teachers. We provide parents with not only academic credit through our local colleges, such as Cerritos College, but also critical employment skills. And, finally, we provide substance abuse awareness training and seek to help parents address gang prevention issues. These are just a few examples of the comprehensive approach we have adopted for our Head Start program.
Let me now talk about some of the transition services we have built into our program so that our Head Start children are ready to learn when they reach kindergarten. Before I do that, please let me commend Congressman Martinez for introducing H.R. 3880, which directly focuses on the needed and very important transition services and increased collaboration between Head Start programs and local educational agencies.
Our experience clearly demonstrates that collaborative transition plans between preschool programs and early elementary grades prepares families for learning continuity and helping children begin kindergarten successfully. To succeed, transition plans must address issues of curriculum continuity, developmentally appropriate instruction, staff development, and teacher-student ratios. Our Head Start program partners with local educational agencies to promote reading readiness, family literacy, and transition from Head Start to kindergarten.
We have also formed a partnership between our Head Start delegate agencies and the California Parent-Teacher Association units to link Head Start parents with the local PTA networks. These collaborative efforts have enabled us to assist elementary schools in building on the positive aspects of the Head Start experiences. It has also contributed to the self-esteem, well-being, and skills of both children and their families and has provided a communication network for parents, teachers, and Head Start agencies.
In addition to the transition services authorized in Congressman Martinez's bill, we would like your Committee to consider several recommendations developed in collaboration with other large Head Start grantees in New York City, Chicago, Puerto Rico, Migrant Head Start and the Navajo Nation.
First, Head Start reauthorization should enhance family literacy services by requiring specific literacy services for the whole family. Our experience shows that literate parents greatly assist their children in learning to read, and these parents are more likely to gain meaningful employment. It is also important to link Head Start to literacy services to pre-employment skills training, thereby furthering the goals of welfare reform.
Our second recommendation is that early Head Start programs should be expanded. Clearly, the recent research on brain development shows us the critical need for early childhood development in education. We now have the opportunity to reach our infants and toddlers of today early on to promote the cognitive and social development.
I would like to add here the equity in funding. I mentioned earlier that in Los Angeles County we serve 21,000 children. However, there are 110,000 eligible children in Los Angeles County who are not accessing Head Start because of the lack of equity in funding in the State of California and in Los Angeles, in particular.
Third, reauthorization should include quality performance measures. Head Start grantees and delegate agencies need to have in place concrete objectives, measurable outcomes, and time lines for a child's achievement. These measures must be aligned with accepted quality program indicators.
Fourth, reauthorization should emphasize safety. We see too much violence in and around the communities where Head Start services are delivered. Therefore, we recommend that the Head Start Bureau partner with the Justice Department to develop programs to improve the safety of the environment where Head Start programs are located and improve training for parents and staff that addresses the best practices in making their communities and programs safer.
Lastly, reauthorization should include program flexibility to coordinate between Head Start and child care providers and incentives for partnership and other forms of collaboration, with the goal of achieving full-day, full-year services.
Program guidelines should be strengthened to address four things:
One, the areas of allowable supplemental expenditures for collaboration with child care providers;
Two, allowance for joint funding of Head Start agencies and child care providers;
Third, enhanced program requirements, such as parent participation. For example, this should count toward TANF requirements. In Los Angeles County 51 percent of parents hired are TANF participants; and
Fourth, liability issues, and how partnerships can work with shared liability and responsibility being shared between child care and Head Start.
I believe we can all agree that the Head Start program is a critically important resource in helping our children and families succeed in this increasingly competitive world. We have seen and heard the success stories. Therefore, it is my strongest recommendation that funding be included to reach the goal of serving 1 million children and their families by the year 2002, and we support the recommendation for Head Start to go through the next 5 years, through 2003.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to testify, and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
SEE APPENDIX K -- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF YOLIE FLORES AGUILAR, PRESIDENT, LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY ANDREW KENNEDY, DIRECTOR, LACOE'S HEAD START-STATE PRESCHOOL DIVISION
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Ms. Aguilar, and thank you to all of our witnesses on this panel. We have certainly, I this think, run the gamut with this testimony, since it has covered such a broad range of opinion. We now look forward to the opportunity to expand on your testimony through our questions and answers.
I want to ask you, Ms. Aguilar, because you made, I thought, a very interesting recommendation at the very end of your testimony. You say program guidelines should be strengthened to enhance paraphrasing just a little bit to enhance program requirements, such as parental participation. What specifically do you have in mind?
Ms. Aguilar. Well, I was specifically referring to the parent participation in TANF, and that we count parent participation toward the TANF requirements currently. I mentioned that we have over 51 percent of our parents that are hired through Head Start that are TANF recipients.
Chairman Riggs. I see. Thank you. I think that is a very important point of clarification, because I think I was perhaps thinking more along the lines of some other form of parental involvement and empowerment.
I also want to thank you, by the way, for emphasizing the need to stress safety, and would just suggest that, since you are seated side by side, maybe you can informally compare notes with Ms. Dollar, or maybe even arrange for her to do, if this is not too presumptuous of her smaller program from northern California, but to provide some technical assistance on how that can be done, because I have had an opportunity to visit the Fillmore project in Fairfield, and it is really remarkable what the community, because I do not want to limit it to just Ms. Dollar or Head Start, but what the community is doing in that particular area. The transformation in the neighborhood, with the Head Start center as the hub of the magnet of that transformation, is truly remarkable. And I look forward to my colleagues hopefully having an opportunity to see that firsthand when we visit Solano County, visit northern California, for our field hearing.
Now, I will have several questions to ask of many, if not all of our witnesses, and I am going to plead with you for very brief responses so we can cover as much ground as possible.
First of all, several of you, I think, have stressed greater accountability and more stringent performance standards and measures. Let me ask, for those of you who are familiar, do you think that the Department's revised performance standards, which went into effect January 1 of this year, provide greater accountability? Are they moving us in the right direction? Are they sufficient or should we consider even stronger, at least educational performance standards in the reauthorization of the bill? Dr. Snow, will you go first?
Ms. Snow. Certainly the performance standards are a step in the right direction. My suggestions for enhanced performance standards would specifically incorporate more focus on language and literacy environment in these classrooms. The social skills are not an adequate preparation for entering kindergarten and school and being prepared to learn how to read.
Kids really do need to have literacy-specific and language-specific skills, and programs need to think about how to organize themselves to ensure that the children have an opportunity to acquire those skills.
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Zigler, do you agree with that? You said in your testimony in fact, I might follow up on that, I guess that we can look at child outcomes in centers using various educational methods to see who fares the best. But do you have something further in mind? Can you tell us what is happening?
Mr. Zigler. What I have in mind is, it is time to redo the study we did 25 years ago where we look at various approaches, curricula that are going on, and actually determine if one is better than another.
I have great respect for Dr. Snow, she is really a world ranked authority on language, but I would take some exception. The strength of Head Start has always been that it is a community program. Not only do we not know for certain if one curriculum is better than another, but a strength of Head Start has always been the local community control of these programs. To start fine-tuning the curriculum in a program at the level of ACYF, or even higher than that, Congress, is quite alien to the entire philosophy of Head Start.
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Zigler, I am glad you made that point, because I am going to ask you to respond then very specifically to your professorial colleague, E.D. Hirsch, who testified in our joint hearing in the Senate and I am quoting now from his testimony here. He says, "In order to achieve equality of educational opportunity, the humane imparting of explicitly defined cognitive skills needs to be an essential new element of Head Start. The basic message of my testimony is this: Congress will be able to ensure that Head Start lives up to its name only if Congress mandates with some specificity the kinds of cognitive goals that every child must attain in order for the local program to retain its funding."
Sounds like, sir, you would take issue.
Mr. Zigler. I agree with some of it. I am a strong believer in accountability, and I think I would agree with Hirsch that you need clear goals. I think what is going on right now in the FACES effort is going to provide us with those benchmarks. There will be explicit goals of Head Start. Where I would disagree with him is on the issue of how you get to those goals.
What developmental experiences does a child need to experience to reach the kind of goals which would, of course, assess language, numeracy, and social skills as well? There has been a cottage industry in this country, going on for the last 35 years, trying to say this curriculum is better than that curriculum. There is an absolutely wonderful review by Don Bailey at North Carolina in a new book on early childhood intervention where he says what I said earlier, we have no evidence that one curriculum is better than another.
I would point to you to a study done right here in the City of Washington by Markham where she actually compared the kind of curriculum that Hirsch is championing versus a more what we call developmentally appropriate curriculum. And the fact of the matter is and these are empirical issues, not ideological struggles, to me and the fact is that the more developmentally appropriate, less directive curriculum, those children did much better in the Washington, D.C., schools later.
Chairman Riggs. I am glad you made that point because that debate also rages on in the public schools over this whole debate of developmental kindergarten versus the more academic approach, as you well know. I do not know how we will reconcile these conflicting testimonies. Dr. Snow, let me give you a chance to respond; then I want to turn to Dr. Horn.
Ms. Snow. Well, developmentally appropriate is a prerequisite for a good education. We do not try to teach calculus to first graders. The point, though, is not that a specific curriculum is the route for giving children access to the language and literacy skills they need, but that certain kinds of educational practices and attention to certain kinds of educational practices are crucial.
Classrooms in which children never have a chance to talk alone to an adult or in a small group with an adult, classrooms in which children spend most of their time in large group play, in outside play, being given snacks where they talk only to each other without an adult sitting down at the table and talking to them, where the procedures for how often they should brush their teeth are more explicit than the procedures for how many times a week books should be read to them, are not classrooms where whatever the curriculum, are not classrooms which are developmentally appropriate because they are not challenging children's language and literacy development, and they are not classrooms where children are learning the things they must learn in order to do well in school.
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Horn, let me ask you, based on your observations and experience and other panelists if they want we are concerned about this phenomenon of fade-out. I don't presuppose to know how real that is.
And Dr. Joyner, just an aside, are you all looking at that in the study, this problem of fade-out versus children being able to sustain the gains that they make in the Head Start program well into their primary school years?
Ms. Joyner. The one study that we have ongoing right now does not look at that issue. It would answer for us the extent to which the current Head Start program is assessing that as part of their other outcome assessments and so forth, but other than that, we are not looking at that issue.
Chairman Riggs. One other aside, if Dr. Horn will bear with us a moment. The Department itself apparently is doing their own internal study, which they call the FACES study. Is there any correlation between the study currently under way in your office and what the Department is doing?
Ms. Joyner. The study that we are doing and the FACES study?
Chairman Riggs. Yes.
Ms. Joyner. Well, what we are doing is not an integral assessment of the impact of Head Start, or the outcomes of Head Start, but our ongoing study looks at what processes or mechanisms the Department has in place to answer those questions about program purposes and so forth.
So we are aware of the FACES study, and the intersection is that we have analyzed it from the perspective of how much information we provide about outcome and impact, and we think it provides a very good basis that could be built on to answer some of the issues that have been raised here, like outcomes at the local level. It could be extended to that, but there are no concrete plans at this time to do that.
Chairman Riggs. Okay. So that sort of begs the question. I am aware of all these studies, because that is the good old Washington way, paralysis by analysis. But it sounds like we perhaps then need to consider going one step further in the context of the reauthorization. Because what we have been discussing is a true I do not know where we came up with this term, it may be just staff driven but an "impact study" or a "results study." It sounds like neither what you are doing or what the Department is doing internally, what I call the FACES study, really would get to the kind results-driven information that we want to see; is that correct?
Ms. Joyner. There is a difference of opinion between the Department and the General Accounting Office on that matter, in that their position is that the activities that they have under way right now will provide information we believe is needed about impact evaluation; and FACES is one of the components of that. Their position is that when they have this outcome data nationally descriptive for the study, that there are certain things that they can do with that that they believe will provide enough comparison that they can conclude that it is the program.
We believe that that is better than doing nothing, and we think it is very useful in a great many ways. But there are a lot of weaknesses to that from a research perspective to the comparisons they have laid out. We believe and the experts with whom we consulted on this believe that more is needed than what they have currently planned.
Chairman Riggs. Okay. Dr. Horn, what is your opinion, then, about the need to increase or enhance performance standards and measures in the context of the reauthorization, assuming we do not devolve this program back to the States?
Mr. Horn. Well, I agree with Dr. Zigler that we have to be careful that we do not so micromanage the local program from Washington, D.C., that it takes away what I think is a very important aspect of the Head Start program, which is local flexibility. I do not think that the research is developed well enough at this point that we can say that this is exactly the curriculum that needs to be used in every Head Start program across the country; nor do I think we will ever get there. Because I think local conditions do require local kinds of considerations in terms of the curriculum that is actually used.
On this issue of the effectiveness of Head Start, let me say this. On the issue of, is a kid better off for having had a year of Head Start or 2 years of Head Start compared to nothing, I think that is a silly question for us to ask now. We know the answer to that. Yes.
But there are two questions, it seems, that are vital. One is, compared to some other kind of preschool experience, with which many States are now experimenting; and then the second question is, how do we deal with this fade-out effect?
Dr. Zigler is quite correct, we do not want to slip back into this idea Head Start is a one-shot inoculation that will somehow protect kids from all sorts of horrible experiences that they then continue to live in, whether that is dangerous neighborhoods or crummy schools or whatever. But I also do not think we should think a two-shot inoculation will do it either, and that is the thought, well, if 1 year did not do it, then 2 years or 3 years.
I think we have to be much more bold about transforming the neighborhoods and the schools these kids transition into and live in as a way of overcoming that 2- or 3-year fade-out effect.
Ms. Dollar. May I address that? While the impact studies and the performance measures are being developed, I would like to share with you some of the strategies that we are using in the field to address fade-out.
Number one, we are supporting the parent through a continued relationship with Even Start, Healthy Start and public health nurses to ensure high-risk families continue to receive some additional levels of support through the grades.
Number two, we are working very closely with the unified school districts to support the understanding, culture and language considerations of the child and the family as they transition.
Number three, we are providing very strong transition strategies from Head Start to the grades, meeting with kindergarten teachers, sharing relationships between kindergarten teachers and Head Start teachers so that there is a very seamless transition and a developmentally appropriate practice that continues into first, second and third grades and enhances the Head Start experience.
Chairman Riggs. Ms. Aguilar.
Ms. Freeman. May I also respond?
Chairman Riggs. Yes, I'm sorry. Ms. Freeman.
Ms. Freeman. I just wanted to comment, too, that one of the reasons we wanted to support the idea of family literacy being a stronger part of Head Start is that we have research studies also that have children all the way up to fifth grade now where we are looking at the fact that where we are supporting the parents' own educational developments means that their children are able to go on further in school as well. So that concept of family literacy also supports that idea of, if there is a fade-out, how can we better support the family as a whole, so that that does not happen as children begin to move up.
Chairman Riggs. Ms. Freeman, while you are at the mike, I want to ask you a related question; then I will go to Ms. Aguilar and then recognize my colleagues.
How do you promote family literacy in non-English-speaking households?
Ms. Freeman. In non-English? Well, throughout Even Start, or any of the family literacy existing programs that we have, we have comprehensive family literacy programs as well. For the parents and the children, as far as what is happening, parents come to family literacy programs to learn to speak English. So, therefore, they are there to speak English. We in the academic instruction time, that is the time that they usually speak English. In the parent component, that is often the time where they speak their own native languages. So they are able to use both languages.
For the children, we also do bilingual, depending upon what is necessary for the local agency. We do not promote either one. The local agency makes the decision as to what they want. But most of the parents come because they want to learn English for their children and for themselves.
Chairman Riggs. Ms. Dollar and Ms. Aguilar, do you have any idea how many children in your jurisdictions are limited or non-English speaking?
Ms. Aguilar. Let me ask Dr. Kennedy, who is our Head Start Director if he has that number. It is Seventy-three percent.
Chairman Riggs. And Ms. Dollar? Then we will let Ms. Aguilar respond.
Ms. Dollar. In our area, one-third of our families are non-English speaking.
Chairman Riggs. One-third. Okay. Ms. Aguilar, I think you wanted to comment about fade-out.
Ms. Aguilar. Yes, but on this point of family literacy and I shared this in my remarks earlier, that our partnership with the National Center on Family Literacy has made an incredible difference and impact on helping parents have that opportunity to learn English. They all want to learn English; it is not a question for them.
I do want to go back to the fade-out issue. There is some research that tells us that the elementary school curriculum, the instructional program, does not align itself to carry out the gains of Head Start. For example, there is much lower parent involvement at the third grade level that might impact learning gains.
So I think it is important to as we talk about transition, and the transition that Mr. Martinez has placed in his bill is critical, but it is important also not just to put the onus of transition on Head Start and early childhood; that that also should be placed on K-12. So I would like to make a further recommendation, as IASA and EASA in Title I are reconsidered for reauthorization, that we look at that transition responsibility also in K-12 education.
Chairman Riggs. Congressman Martinez.
Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have heard this for a long time, too, about the fade-out from Head Start; and that is one of the reasons why our now-Chairman, before he was Chairman, interacted with our then-Chairman, Bill Ford, to introduce a piece of legislation called Even Start, which was supposed to take care of that continuity.
I think there was a greater wisdom in that, with the emphasis being on the fact that if Head Start children lose what they gained in Head Start, it is not the fault of the child, not even in many cases the parent, but the parent is substantially a part of that because if the parent takes that kind of an interest and develops that kind of an interest in the kid's education and their own, then they can sometimes recognize when the school that they have sent their children to beyond Head Start is a bad school. And the real reason why these kids have fade-out is the bad school and also, sometimes, bad environments. So we ought to be emphasizing the right thing here.
I think you say it very well, Ms. Aguilar, that the responsibility for the continuance of the gain in Head Start ought to be in K through 12. There is no doubt about it. The fact is that if we think in those terms, I think we can put forth in the bill a good reauthorization that can take care of that problem we have had in the past with fade-out, which has not always occurred in every student. If the student went to a good school, he did not have fade-out. If the parents became that interested in their child's education, that they got a further education, even to the extent of the parents who come to the programs wanting to learn English, because they understand, if they learn English, their children will learn to speak better English and their children will get a better education.
But I want to kind of ask the question here of Dr. Zigler. One of the objectives we have had for several years now, going back to when I first got to Congress, there was talk of full funding. Both Reagan talked of full funding for Head Start; Bush made it a commitment in his campaign, full funding for Head Start, and we still have not achieved full funding. The fight is always for the dollars and how we are able to impress the appropriators, how important Head Start is and what that appropriation level should be; not only that, but in the reauthorizing of these bills, too, what those appropriation levels should be.
When we think about trying to achieve full funding and Loretta Sanchez testified to the fact that there are a great number in Orange County, 47,000 I think she said, of unserved children; and then we just heard Ms. Aguilar testify to the fact that there are 110,000 in L.A. County that are unserved, so if you couple that with your testimony, Dr. Zigler, that we really need to expand the Head Start program to ages before four, because those are cognitive learning ages, too, how do we reconcile then the doubling of the cost of Head Start by doubling the salaries by requiring certified teachers?
Now, I understand certified teachers would be able to do a better job in Head Start, but sometimes I think we ought to expend that effort in money in those other grades, K through 12, to make sure the teachers that are there are qualified. Because I am not sure all the time that every teacher that is in the K-through-12 system is doing the kind of job they need to do to make sure those children get a full and meaningful education.
So the question is, how do we reconcile those two really diametrically opposed concepts, that if you want to reach full funding you are going to need more dollars, but then you are going to spend the dollars to increase from $17,000 or an average of 16; it is from $11- to $17,000 to $33- to $34,000? That is a doubling of cost, which means all that has impact on the dollars you are able to appropriate for the program.
Mr. Zigler. I understand your dilemma, and I, too, would like to congratulate you in your wisdom on the transition effort. I have been talking about transition now for 30 years, pointing out how many Head Start kids, the momentum they get in Head Start is lost. Dr. Lee at Michigan has pointed out how many Head Start children go on to poor schools.
The dilemma you pose is a real one. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. I think the evidence is fairly clear. Contrary to what Dr. Horn said a moment ago, I just wrote an introduction to a book on the Parent-Child Centers in Chicago, which are very much like Head Start, which show that the more years that a child has had, the better they do. But they follow the kid right into school.
There is no free lunch. There is absolutely no free lunch.
I also have evidence that indicates that 2 years of Head Start are better than 1 year of Head Start, and I can provide this Committee with that evidence. However, I have never argued that Head Start become a how can you argue that some children should have 2 years of Head Start when right now 70 percent of the eligible children have none? So I am not arguing expending our money that way right now with the lack of money that we have.
In terms of do you want to spend more money on teachers? Will they cost more? Yes, they will cost you twice as much. I think that, as Congressman Mica said earlier, these children really deserve the very best type of intervention that we are capable of providing. The best kind of intervention would be a highly trained, well-qualified person who would automatically do the kinds of things they were taught to do, the kinds of things that Dr. Snow was telling you about. That costs more money. My hunch is you will get better outcomes as a result of that.
I think one can do this at least experimentally. There are already some BAs in Head Start. Why is a study not done to find the cost-benefit analysis of those kids who have had a BA as a teacher, as opposed to those who have a CDA as a teacher? If we can demonstrate that the benefits are twice as high, then you can see that this should not be treated so much as an increased cost but as a worthwhile investment.
Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Dr. Zigler. Well, I have to agree with you that maybe that is what we ought to do, is do a study of those environments where a B.A. teacher and the CD teacher are compared side-by-side, and find out what the results are. I think that is what we are all trying to do anyway.
Let me ask you along the same lines, and probably Dr. Snow, both you and Dr. Zigler can answer this, because this has been another long-standing question. I remember when we reauthorized Head Start last time, and I brought the Subcommittee together to find out what their views were on the reauthorization, and almost to a person, both sides of the aisle said quality, improvement of quality. Then we sat to try to determine what quality was. And what we did is we came up with a reauthorization that included what we thought would be an increase of quality. And according to Dr. Joyner, there has been some increase in the quality of Head Start programming.
But what it really boils down to, I think, is a simple question of quality equates to preparing the child to learn. But yet I do not think we have ever had a real definitive statement on what that means, "ready to learn." Could either of you give us that?
Mr. Zigler. Again, that is a very tough issue, a definition of school readiness. Why it is so important, as we said, the last national study done on school readiness is that about 35 percent of America's children, according to kindergarten teachers, are not ready when they hit school. If you look at poor children in our inner cities and our rural slums, like in Appalachia, that number is closer to 65 percent.
I do not think there is a great mystery really about what school readiness is. And I would like to emphasize something that is being said here. Head Start is in the midst of doing, I think, the most important effort ever in the 33-year life of Head Start. School readiness measures, first of all, let us get realistic. I think we all oversold Head Start in the beginning. I was reminded this morning when Congressman Sanchez pointed out her program, believe it or not, in 1965, we thought if we had a child for 6 weeks, we thought we could make him wonderful forever. Today what we ought to do is say, look, what do you really expect to get out of a 1-year, mostly half-day program for 4-year-old children? We need a clear goal. To me, that goal is school readiness.
Now, the FACES effort is, for the first time in well, we have been arguing for 33 years, and I was consulted on the GAO report where they concluded, well, we don't know yet.
The problem is, you ought to have a clear goal. Make that goal school readiness, which involves working with the family, all the things that Head Start does as part of school readiness. But then what you have to have are, let's say, six, maybe it is seven six or seven very clear measures of school readiness. They would include language, they would include numeracy, they would include, can a kid follow instruction?
Those measures are not beyond us. We have been thinking about this thing now for over 30 years. Develop those measures. This would be the first time, if they are successful, and they are working on it now, this would be the first time ever that Head Start would have to say, here are what we are shooting for and, if we achieve those, we are a success. If we do not achieve them, we are not.
But I guarantee you, Mr. Martinez, that any group of scholars in early childhood would have no trouble agreeing on six basic measures; and they would be measures of cognition, health, social and emotional development essentially. Those are the core of school readiness. Once those measures are in place, and they are being developed as we speak, then we will finally have the clear goals of Head Start as defined by those measures.
Mr. Martinez. Very good. Dr. Snow.
Ms. Snow. Well, another way to think about the effectiveness of Head Start is to think about Head Start as a prevention program, a program designed to prevent the emergence of problems. And difficulties in learning to read are the biggest problem that society faces. Most kids do learn to read. Too high a proportion of children, particularly children from the population groups served by Head Start, do not learn to read.
So in that sense, school readiness really has to be defined by the kindergarten and first grade teachers, what they expect children to be able to do in order for their instructional programs to work. Kindergarten teachers expect children to be able to sit quietly for a little while and listen to some instruction. They expect children to be able to follow directions.
But they also presuppose, in general, some understanding of what literacy is all about. They presuppose that kids arrive at school thinking that reading is a good thing to do, motivated enough to learn to read; that they are prepared to persist through a certain challenge or struggle, and with some basic understanding of why people sit and stare at funny little marks on a piece of paper. If kids do not get to kindergarten knowing that, if kids are not linguistically well prepared to start to understand what those squiggles on the paper represent, then the prevention of reading difficulties has not adequately taken place.
Mr. Martinez. I can very clearly understand that. For example, I spoke Spanish when I went to kindergarten, and then we transitioned to English over the next few grades. But when people wonder why, with my Hispanic background, that I don't speak Spanish better, it is because I didn't have much of a vocabulary at 5 years of age and never expanded it beyond that because I made the transition to English.
So I think I have a pretty good command of English, although some people would contradict that, because the fact is I did not have a broad knowledge of the Spanish language, and I have had to go back as an adult, in fact, since I have been in Congress, to relearn Spanish. I have found, you are right, there are words that I didn't know existed in the Spanish language. I knew the English word but did not know the Spanish word.
So you are right, those are things that children, if they are going to be ready when they get to that kindergarten age, they have to have a better grasp of vocabulary and, as you say, know what those little marks on the paper mean. Thank you.
Mr. Horn. May I had add one thing to that?
With all due respect, I think it may be the wrong question. I am convinced by the data that Head Start, to a very large extent, helps kids arrive at school ready to learn. I think what we should be measuring is whether the schools are ready when the kids arrive at their doorstep. That is the result we see of the fade-out effect. It is not that we are not delivering kids in large numbers ready to go to school, but the schools are not equipped to deal with these kids and ensure that these kids learn in the long term.
So I would hope that in addition to anything that this Congress might do to enhance the measurement of the readiness of the Head Start graduate, that it simultaneously also measure the readiness of the schools to accept and work with the Head Start graduate.
One small point I wanted to make for the record: Dr. Zigler just said 70 percent of income-eligible kids do not get Head Start at all. That is not true. That is simply not so. There are about of 650,000 income-eligible 4-year-olds in America today. According to the most recent program information report from Head Start, there are 519,000 4-year-olds in Head Start. Now, even allowing for the 10 percent over-income enrollment, you don't get to 70 percent of kids that are income-eligible not getting Head Start. The only way you get to 70 percent of not getting Head Start is by expanding it to 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds.
It is a complicated statistical argument, but for the record, it is not so that 70 percent of income-eligible kids are not getting Head Start at all.
Mr. Martinez. I think the percentages differ from area to area. I do not know about your statistics, but it still does not answer the question that we have evidence in Los Angeles County that of the numbers there, there are 110,000 which is what percentage, Dr. Kennedy that are not receiving Head Start who are eligible?
Mr. Kennedy. I think we have 60 percent.
Mr. Martinez. Sixty percent. So, you see, it varies from area to area. But I think you make a very good point. The point you make, in getting that school ready to receive these children, is one that I think Dr. Snow made when she said that the kindergarten and the first grade teacher should define what that school readiness is.
Ms. Dollar. I think it is critical to remember, too, in a year of Head Start we can have tremendous influence on a family dynamic; that we can change attitudes; that we can enhance motivation; that we can prepare parents to be better advocates for their children when they enter the school system. A year with a parent is significant.
Mr. Martinez. Ms. Aguilar.
Ms. Aguilar. If I may, I would like to go back to the language question, because it was raised earlier with the representatives here today. And someone asked if English ought to be one of the goals with children. Absolutely, yes, to prepare children to enter school ready to learn they have to be somewhat ready to master the English language, which they will continue to do in K-12.
However, one of the things I think we all would agree on now is that ultimately who makes a difference in the lives of children are their families, are their parents, no question. If children have to choose between English and their home language, I am afraid that we will continue to separate families, and the communication of families is ultimately the most important thing. So I would like for you to think about English as a primary goal in all families.
All children recognize that to be successful in America we all must learn English; however, we must not compromise the family relationship by rejecting the home language. There are so many families who do not communicate any longer because their families, their parents, speak their home language and their children are no longer communicating in that home language and are now communicating only in English. We could do no worse damage to families in America than to separate their children through language.
Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Congressman Martinez. If you will yield to me for a moment to follow up the point Ms. Aguilar made, and then we will go to Congressman Roemer.
I want to be sure we are clear on this. If we are saying one of the primary purposes, if not the primary purpose, of the new and improved Head Start program, as reauthorized by Congress and signed into law by the President in a bipartisan fashion, I hope, is school readiness, it just seems to me that that would mean an emphasis on English language skills for children with no or limited English proficiency. We are not saying anything about trying to discourage that child from also, obviously, communicating at home or, for that matter, at the Head Start center in the native language, or doing anything to put a language barrier between the child and the parent. If I gave that impression earlier, I want to dispel it now for the record.
Ms. Snow. May I address that issue?
Inevitably, if English is the dominant language in the Head Start center, children in the center will understand that English is very important and will start to learn English, as Mr. Martinez did, at the expense of their home language.
There is no educational reason for assuming that being an English speaker is an aspect of school readiness. Children can learn English at school, and we have programs in the elementary schools designed to help them learn English. Children who arrive at school with strong oral language skills, in whatever language they speak, are the children who are going to do well in school. If those strong oral language skills are strong skills in Khmer or strong skills in Spanish, they will serve the children well.
The early transition into English is in absolutely no sense justified as an educational strategy.
Chairman Riggs. Well, I guess we could get off on that tangent and have an interesting debate on that as well. I want to thank Dr. Snow for thoroughly muddling the issue with her professional expertise.
You have done a great job today, by the way, collectively, of confusing us. We are now befuddled with respect to the reauthorization. Congressman Roemer.
Mr. Roemer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this befuddling hearing this morning.
I want to thank all our witnesses. I am a very, very strong proponent and supporter of Head Start. I could spend my entire 5 minutes and maybe 50 months talking about how strongly I support it and how good a job it has done in the past, but that is not what these hearings are all about.
These hearings are about finding opportunities to improve existing programs, to reform and modify existing programs, and if they are not working well enough in some capacities or in some areas, to revolutionize those existing programs. And that is why I am here, is to find out how we can continue to work together in a bipartisan way as a Congress with your good expertise and your good advice here from the field and from academic life.
Let me see if I can try to discern a little bit of what we are hearing from the different witnesses in terms of some educational components or transition projects which link with our Head Start programs and our schools, or to put specific performance standards into our Head Start programs.
Now, one of the things the Head Start programs prided themselves on, and many Members of Congress have said is good, is the variance from one program to another and the local control. We have a huge dichotomy here in Congress when it comes to setting standards for our schools. We had deep divisions on that question when we voted on that earlier this year. Should we set standards for our elementary schools and our high schools? Congress was deeply divided.
Specifically, Dr. Zigler, Dr. Snow, anybody else, do you recommend that Congress set these specific readiness requirements for the Head Start program?
Mr. Zigler. There are two issues. First of all, there are already performance standards. I think performance standards are absolutely necessary to guarantee quality. Those standards are now in place.
Mr. Roemer. You recommended six that you might agree on when we set up the different programs.
Mr. Zigler. I want to draw a distinction for you. There are performance standards that are processes. You have to do such-and-such. You have to have a curriculum. You cannot have just nothing. That is a standard. But then you have goals that you are trying to accomplish. That is what Head Start has never had. And, yes, I think that it is time.
I think the efforts to establish those goals are in place now. I think my recommendation to Congress would be, insist that those kinds of standards are developed. But I would not write into law at this point in time what those standards ought to be because it takes a process to develop those kinds of standards. That process is in place now.
But I do want such standards, because I think that after 33 years of the life of a program that taxpayers and Congress have every right to say, what exactly are the goals of this program and how are you going to assess whether you got to those goals or not.
Mr. Roemer. Let me put you on the spot again here, Dr. Zigler. We have a program that is 33 years old. You say we have the process now being studied and maybe put into place. If we do not write it into law, how much time should we give these readiness or academic vocabulary standards? Must we wait for the next reauthorization?
Mr. Zigler. No, that would be
Mr. Roemer. Then we do demonstration projects in some of the schools?
Mr. Zigler. No, I am as impatient as anybody else. My life has been intimately involved in this program for 33 years. It has taken us so long. I didn't do it. Of course, there were not any performance standards; I wrote the first performance standards. Dr. Horn did not do it. Nobody has done it until these people came along. They are in the middle of doing it now.
I have examined some early efforts of the group that is doing it. I think we are talking about a time frame, probably, of 2 years to develop those standards. If we waited 33 years to do it right, we can wait 2 more years to get the job done well.
Mr. Roemer. Dr. Snow, should we have
Chairman Riggs. Would the gentleman yield on one point briefly? And we will turn the clock off so he has adequate time. But I think we are getting confused here.
Mr. Roemer. Yes, that was the fastest 5 minutes I have ever seen.
Chairman Riggs. On the use of terms, Dr. Zigler, a moment ago you made a very clear distinction between goals and standards, and you said we had standards in place. But you concluded your response to Congressman Roemer's question by saying we are going to need a minimum of 2 years to develop these standards. Did you mean goals?
Mr. Zigler. I misspoke. My apologies. It is not the goals. The goals are rhetoric. The goals are rhetoric. What you have to do with the goal is operationalize them and the specific measures that you are going to use to assess your success or failure.
So I simply misspoke. My apologies.
Mr. Roemer. Dr. Snow, let me put you on the spot. What kind of measures should we have, and should we do it faster than what Dr. Zigler has recommended?
Ms. Snow. I think we could perhaps do it a little faster, if everybody on the Subcommittee starts by reading the National Academy report, called Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, because in that report the committee of 17 scholars and practitioners who put the report together spent a fair amount of time achieving agreement on what performances, what skills children of different ages should be able to display, children who will go on to have the opportunity to learn to read with minimal difficulties.
So we pretty much know what 3-year-old children should be able to do, what 4-year-old children should be able to do. And if Head Start programs, if professional personnel in the Head Start programs around the country know about those expectations, and we all can agree that those are appropriate expectations for 4-year-old children, then they can be incorporated into the kinds of activities that the Head Start classrooms engage in. They would start to drive the goals of the classrooms without the necessity of having draconian efforts.
Mr. Roemer. Not to put words in your mouth, then, you do agree we should have some standards and you agree it could happen faster than a 2-year time frame?
Ms. Snow. Yes.
Ms. Joyner. Congressman, if I could add to that, I would like to put this in the context of the Results Act and, again, to work with the terminology, which can be very confusing here. But part of my statement, or what I was commending them for, and I agree with Dr. Zigler in this regard, is that they have made great strides in complying with, in fact, the mandate in the last reauthorization that they develop performance measures, and with the Results Act concept of having overall mission statement, a goals statement, and some strategies to link what they do day to day with that.
I have in front of me, for example, their first progress report on the Head Start program performance measures, which came out in May of 1997. I understand their second progress report is now being reviewed. We have not been allowed to see it yet, but this will be coming out. This really lays out a model that says, if we are trying to achieve social competence, here are the things we have to do. Some of those are processes which tie in with the standards.
The standards, as they use the term, simply I don't mean simply, it is extremely important, but it means this is how you will do things; you will have these positions filled, you will carry out things. And that has been the mind-set, is quality means we did the things the way experts believed we ought to do them. Now, I think they are to be commended that they moved beyond that to say we have three objectives that relate to standards or processes.
We also, for the first time, have two that, at a broad level, are simply rhetoric, "enhanced families' ability to nurture and improve children's skills." But they have also identified specific measures and what the numbers need to be; and that is where the study that we spoke of earlier, the FACES study, is designed to collect that information. Because, yes, they have become specific on what we really hope to have happen, but have had no way to now that we know how good we want to be, how will we find out if the children are gaining those skills and the parents are gaining these skills? So this is a study intending to collect that for the first time.
And I think that goes back to my term about conceptually sound, methodologically sound. And it provides a good base to build on now to look at the local grantee level to see, are they achieving those outcomes for the amount of money being spent in this local program? Are they achieving the outcomes, the gains that now for the first time they have articulated? And is a program that uses one kind of curriculum actually doing a better job than a program using another kind of curriculum?
So they have the tools to move to that next step to make those comparisons.
Mr. Roemer. Well, having been someone who has visited Head Start programs in Indiana and in other States, including D.C., there is such a wide variance between what these Head Start programs achieve and what, if any, kinds of academic and literacy objectives they sometimes have, I think it is extremely important for us to be able to measure from one program to another what we are accomplishing and what results we are attaining.
Let me come to another equally divisive and politically charged issue, and that is professional development in our Head Start programs.
Some people have testified that these are enhanced babysitters taking care of our children, other people have said that we do not pay them enough. When you look at pay scales for what we pay Head Start teachers, starting them many times at $13,000 a year and they reach a $20,000 salary after many years, we often pay people picking up our garbage, we often pay zoo keepers taking care of animals, we often pay parking attendants taking care of our automobiles much more money than we pay people taking care of our children.
And oftentimes these children are children that can be coming from very difficult, challenging circumstances; it takes a great deal of expertise to work with these children to equip them with the needed skills to then be prepared to learn and take on this challenging environment that they are going into. Yet, in this Head Start program we only pay people $13- to $17,000 a year.
I think the real challenge for this Congress is going to be, are we going to are Republicans and Democrats going to work in a bipartisan way on trying to improve the qualifications for people coming into the schools and trying to make sure that these qualifications continue to go up to B.A. and other levels, but that we also increase the money and the pay? And for Democrats, maybe increasing the professional development and the standards and the qualifications will be difficult on our side; and for Republicans maybe paying them more is going to be difficult, as that has been shown in the past.
I am for both. I think that we need to move in both directions. More pay, more qualifications, and more reward, so we do not have the attrition rates we have in our Head Start programs. I think it is just ludicrous, ludicrous that we expect to improve Head Start programs and pay somebody $13,000 a year to try to get these children ready for our public schools and our private schools. Dr. Zigler, as the father of Head Start, what do we do here?
Mr. Zigler. First, I would like to say "amen," because I could not agree with you more. As I said before, there is no free lunch. We have study after study that indicate that the outcomes of children in these intervention programs is related to the quality of the program, very central to the quality of a Head Start program, particularly if we are thinking about school readiness, consistent with what Dr. Snow has said and Dr. Horn has said. I think we are all speaking with a single voice, that a very central person in determining the quality is the teacher of that Head Start.
The magic of Head Start, as far as child change, takes place at the intersection between that teacher in the Head Start program and the child, the same way as in the home the parent and the child. So anything that you could do to enhance that, but again, you cannot hire a BA-level person for $17,000 or $13,000. So if you really want to enhance the quality of Head Start, I can think of no move that would enhance it quicker and have a quicker payoff than to demand a higher level of teaching ability and pay for that higher level.
Mr. Roemer. Dr. Zigler, does not that come right back to our first point about the standards and performance and readiness, that if we are going to insist on the first part, that we have some of these different academic requirements in Head Start? How do you do that with a person coming in at $13,000 a year that will probably not have those skills to be able to get this intersection accomplished?
Mr. Zigler. You cannot. It is impossible.
Mr. Roemer. Dr. Snow?
Ms. Snow. I agree entirely.
And another point that you mentioned, namely the attrition, becomes very relevant here. One of the problems with the very low pay scale within Head Start is that the on-the-job learning, the professional development that goes on in the classroom as teachers learn how to be better at doing what they are doing, goes to waste because the pay scale is so low that it is very hard to retain teachers in Head Start programs.
Mr. Roemer. Do you have any idea what the attrition rate is in our Head Start programs?
Ms. Snow. I do not have any national figures on that. I know the attrition rates in Massachusetts was halved for Head Start teachers 10 years or so ago when State funds were used to enhance hourly wages for Head Start teachers. It improved the quality of what was going on in the programs enormously because there really was a chance for on-the-job professional development of those teachers.
Ms. Dollar. Teacher recruitment and retention is almost at a crisis point in education in general. With class reduction in California, we struggle to hang on to our teachers because all of our BA-level teachers were recruited by the school districts.
Our teachers in our Head Start program must have a minimum of an AA degree and a California Children's Center permit to enter into the system, and six continuing units of education annually. A competing priority is to make entry-level positions available to the parents in our program as well, and that is where staff development and continuing education funded by Head Start is so critical.
Our program is funded almost 50 percent by parents, prior parents in our program, and can be some of our most intensely committed and dedicated teachers. But that is an early and long-term commitment to education and professional development when you bring a parent in at an entry-level position, and so much of the focus needs to go in that area.
Mr. Roemer. Ms. Dollar, how many people do you have on staff at your Head Start program?
Ms. Dollar. Almost 150.
Mr. Roemer. How many have BAs?
Ms. Dollar. Of our teaching staff or our management staff? Of our teacher staff, a third have BAs.
Mr. Roemer. A third. And what type of attrition have you seen out of that third to the public schools or have been recruited away?
Ms. Dollar. We have probably lost about a third of that third over the last 2 years with class reduction. And those that have stayed have stayed because of other kinds of positions that we could create within the agency to help them move up the career ladder more into management positions, mid-management positions, supervisory positions. And that came as a result of getting larger expansion, other program grants that we were able to compete for as well.
Mr. Roemer. So let me see if I have this right. Thirty-three percent of your teachers have BAs; you have been able to retain a third of those 33 percent?
Ms. Dollar. [Nodding in the affirmative.]
Mr. Roemer. So we are down to about 11 or 12 percent?
Ms. Dollar. Yes. But I don't necessarily equate a B.A. degree with a high-quality early childhood education teacher. We have many teachers who have AA degrees and who have California Children's Center permits and ongoing units whose quality of teaching is every bit as high as a BA degree.
I would rather have an AA-degreed teacher with an early childhood degree than a BA-level teacher with an education degree in general. There is a much more highly focused curriculum content when someone comes out of a 2-year program with an early childhood education degree as well.
Mr. Roemer. And you feel comfortable with those people now being able to take on some enhanced readiness and academic building goals?
Ms. Dollar. It is continued education. As the program grows, we must provide the continued support in education for the staff that we have. But, again, there is a certain amount of growth that comes from continuity with the program as well as bringing people from outside in and starting them fresh in the program as well.
Mr. Roemer. Thank you. Ms. Aguilar?
Ms. Aguilar. Thank you. Just a quick comment on our school districts that have Head Start programs in L.A. County. All of them have teachers with Bachelor's degrees. But I wanted to add another recommendation, perhaps, along this issue of teacher preparation.
As Ms. Dollar mentioned, in California we have a teacher crisis because of class size reduction, and so any additional credentialing requirements for Head Start teachers, I think, should be phased in. One of the recommendations that we would offer is that we have a "grandmother clause" for those teachers who have been working with Head Start for many years, so we do not lose those individuals.
The other is that the flexibility is important, State by State, in terms of teacher preparation, because there are a variety of ways in which we can prepare early childhood development teachers and Head Start teachers, not just with Associate degrees or Bachelor degrees, although those are important, especially if they have a focus on early childhood, but we have in California, for example, the CDA, Child Development Associate, training program. There is NAEYC that has training programs, as well as National Head Start Association.
So there are a variety of ways in which we can prepare teachers and it ought to be a local issue for us to address. There is no one-shot deal, I think.
Mr. Roemer. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the extended time.
Chairman Riggs. Of course. And I might note for the record that we look forward to visiting Congressman Roemer's district, I think later this week. We were juggling times, because I have to get back here to fulfill a family commitment, but we are looking forward to going to South Bend for our field hearing at the end of the week. Then we hope continuing on to field hearings in Texas during the July 4th District Work Period, as well, as I alluded to earlier, to my congressional district.
I can hear those stomachs growling out there. I know we have gone through the lunch hour, but I mentioned at the end of my last comments that I felt a certain amount of confusion seeping in. So I cannot conclude the hearing on that note. I am going to see if I can, with a few more questions, perhaps seek some clarity and consensus, and I will try to be very brief on this.
I do want to piggyback on what Congressman Roemer just said, because I agree with him it is imperative that we increase professional development. Some of the ideas we have been kicking around include the ideas that he mentioned, as well as possible linkages to the regional labs for early childhood training; the possible use of a demonstration project funding to promote professional development, greater professional development; increasing the amount of quality improvement funding for professional development.
And I think it is safe to say that both the House and the Senate bills will address professional development, so we solicit your ideas and your advice in that respect. And as I think Ms. Freeman may have mentioned in her testimony, we are going to go back, and we will examine the professional development language in the House and Senate, literacy, our reading excellence bills.
That said, I have a very specific question. Do you think and these do not have to be anything more than yes or no responses, unless you want to elaborate do you think that given our commitment to enhanced professional development, it would be reasonable and maybe even prudent to establish a goal that by the year 2003, say the end of this reauthorization, that the majority of Head Start classrooms would have a teacher with a college degree, either an Associate's degree or a Bachelor's degree? Ms. Aguilar, do you think that would be a reasonable requirement in the reauthorization?
Ms. Aguilar. Yes, if there is an emphasis in early childhood development.
Chairman Riggs. Ms. Dollar?
Ms. Dollar. Yes, I do. And, again, I would like the emphasis on early childhood education.
Chairman Riggs. Do any of our other witnesses want to comment on that?
Mr. Zigler. Yes.
Chairman Riggs. Do you think, again, for any or all of our witnesses, that the primary goal of the reauthorized act should be school readiness, however we ultimately define school readiness? Dr. Zigler, you are nodding your head yes?
Mr. Zigler. Yes, I think that would end forever this ambiguity about what the goal of Head Start is. Say it loudly and clearly, we are in this business to produce school readiness, which is a realistic goal of a 1-year program.
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Snow?
Ms. Snow. Yes.
Chairman Riggs. Dr. Horn?
Mr. Horn. I am more ambivalent, because I do think that an emphasis ought to be on trying to do some interesting work regarding transition. And to make the emphasis not just on the goal being at the end of the enrollment of Head Start for that particular child being ready, but the question is, ready for what? And to spend some time paying attention to the what, which is the schools they transition into.
Chairman Riggs. That is a very good point. So focus on maybe the back end of the Head Start program as well as the front end.
But speaking of the front end, do you think we ought to expand the Early Head Start program, the Early Head Start funding? You recognize, of course, that taxpayer resources are finite; that however it continues to grow in subsequent years, with the increase in annual spending, what we call appropriations here in Washington, that we are still talking about a limited pie, so to speak.
And in that context, I should point out there is this debate. I know as a former appropriator and having sat on the Appropriations Subcommittee in question, the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, that the debate internally within the Appropriations Committee, our colleagues that serve on the Appropriations Committee, is this question of whether we will emphasize quantity over quality.
There are many Members of Congress I think this is certainly implicit in Congressman Kasich's request to the GAO, by the way who believe that we should emphasize the highest quality of services; that is to say, that we should ensure that children who are now enrolled in Head Start receive the highest quality of service before expanding the program to serve more children.
I think there is this expectation that has now, if you will, sort of seeped in that there are going to continue to be large spending increases each and every year, spending increases that far exceed the rate of inflation.
So there is this quantity/quality, and I don't want to get bogged down in that, but I do want to ask you very specifically and I have not had a chance to run this by my Democratic colleagues, but one of the things we are thinking about doing is increasing, I believe, the set-aside from 5 percent to 10 percent for what I call Early Head Start, ages from birth to 3.
Does anybody have an opinion about that particular idea? Dr. Snow?
Ms. Snow. This is an enormously conflicting sort of question to have to respond to, since obviously Early Head Start provides crucial services of a very different kind from Head Start itself, and services that families in need probably benefit from.
But I would point out that Early Head Start, unlike old-fashioned Head Start, is being subjected to a randomized trial evaluation, and that it is possible to do a randomized impact study for Early Head Start because Early Head Start actually does provide new services, such that it is possible to get families to agree to sign up with the possibility that they will be excluded from receiving services, since Early Head Start is, in many cases, the only source of those services.
I personally think that a randomized trial is impossible with Head Start, because there are so many alternative programs available that you really do not know what you are comparing the families that have not gotten admission to Head Start to. But I would personally, if it were my money, which I guess it is actually, isn't it-
Chairman Riggs. It is all of our money. I like you putting it that way. Yes.
Ms. Snow. I would not expand Early Head Start as rapidly as going from 5 percent to 10 percent of the money in this next appropriations period, but would wait to see what the effect of the impact study is and invest those dollars in improving the quality of Head Start programs and expanding Head Start.
Chairman Riggs. You don't think that the recent research on brain development would warrant a gradual I should have said, by the way, that what we are contemplating is a gradual increase in the set-aside of 1 percent per year from the 5 percent set-aside under current law to 10 percent, say, at the end of a 5-year reauthorization bill.
Ms. Snow. Obviously, if there were unlimited funds, that would be a wonderful thing to do.
Chairman Riggs. Well, there are not unlimited funds. Anybody else? Dr. Horn?
Mr. Horn. One of the largest evaluations of its kind in the birth-to-five program, the comprehensive child development program showed there was no difference between those who got the program and those that did not. So I would agree with Dr. Snow, that if you have limited resources to target, I would target them to improving Head Start. We do, however, have data that would suggest that it does have an impact when expanding the Head Start program, as opposed to shifting dollars away from Head Start to Early Head Start.
Ms. Dollar. From the field, we would like to see an emphasis on quality for services for children but also have the opportunity, with existing grants and expansion grants, to serve birth through five when it meets the local need.
Chairman Riggs. So you are arguing for a little more money and a little more flexibility at the local level?
Ms. Dollar. Yes.
Chairman Riggs. And I also want to, before we conclude, make sure I completely understand Dr. Joyner's testimony.
As I understand it, very succinctly, Dr. Joyner, you have testified today that it is your office's opinion that Head Start does not have sufficient measures in place currently for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to measure performance or outcome; is that correct?
Ms. Joyner. We believe that the measures that they have, as I have spoken to, that those are probably good measures as far as defining, this is what we want you to be able to do. Our concern is that the processes of comparing children in Head Start with children not in Head Start, that the processes they have in place right now are not sufficient to give us the solid answers that we think are needed about the impact.
We believe they ought to give some serious consideration to impact evaluations, that we have talked about; that they ought to do those and look at making their current designs provide better comparisons.
I just wanted to clarify on the issue about random assignment. One thing we talked about, at least informally with staff at the other hearing, and we pointed out in our report is that by saying we think Head Start HHS should spend some more resources on an impact evaluation, we are not saying that what you must do is one randomized study nationwide that compares children in Head Start with children not in Head Start. That is an oversimplification of what we are talking about. I think comparing children in Head Start with children not in Head Start, but in other kinds of programs, is perhaps more instructive.
And you have also been hearing about a large unserved population. So I think the idea of finding children who are in something else but not Head Start is, in fact, feasible. And that is where we believe HHS, the Department does not go far enough.
Chairman Riggs. I understood that. And I also understood you to testify you don't feel the Department goes far enough in that the performance standards or performance measures that are in place now do not apply to the individual grantee.
Ms. Joyner. To the local level, that's correct.
Chairman Riggs. But I thought Ms. Dollar said there are performance--
Ms. Joyner. There are standards on how you must do things. Those have existed and they still exist. My point is that now that they have established some outcome measures, what we would say is, this is the kind of gain we want to see in language skills, this is the kind of improvement we want to see in the parents' parenting skills, now that they have focused on some outcome measures, not just what we are going to do to, with, and for the child, that we think there would be value in extending those to the local grantee level.
Chairman Riggs. You don't have any problem with that, Ms. Dollar, do you?
Ms. Dollar. Let me comment. I have been in early education for 27 years, and Head Start is held to a higher level of accountability than any other comparable early childhood program.
We have a revised set of performance standards that come from the national level. Each local Head Start program submits an integrated work plan that describes their approach to implementation of those performance standards. The next step is the implementation of the performance measures, which are in development right now. We are eager to receive those performance measures and to see the program compared to other programs. But there are no other programs that have the accountability measures that Head Start has in place just at present.
Chairman Riggs. Okay. But I think everybody could agree that it would be a good thing to try to develop performance measures for individual grantees and that that might actually allow us to address, and I speak now from the perspective of the authorizing Subcommittee Chairman, because I keep hearing the concerns again on the budget and appropriations side, particularly in an era of very competitive budgets, about having some cost-benefit analysis done on the Head Start program; actually having some data we could look at with respect to cost-benefit.
I hear Ms. Dollar saying as the operator of an award-winning program saying, we would welcome those kinds of challenges.
Ms. Dollar. We welcome performance measures. And I think there are many programs in the field that have developed individual performance measures. And I think we are looking forward to a standardized set of performance measures that we can use.
Chairman Riggs. One other type of priority question is should we, given Dr. Horn's testimony, given this bipartisan welfare reform legislation enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President, should we give priority to full-day, full-year in the reauthorization? In other words, trying to help single parents who have to struggle against heroic odds to make that very difficult transition from welfare to work, and promote more collaboration in this idea of seamless integration with respect to Head Start and TANF?
I want to get the perspective of Ms. Aguilar and Ms. Dollar. By the way, do you know how many of your clients are TANF eligible or TANF participants?
Ms. Aguilar. Forty-five percent in Los Angeles County.
Chairman Riggs. And your feeling, again, with respect to giving priority to this idea of full-day, full-year?
Ms. Aguilar. I think incentives for partnerships with existing child care programs are very, very important. Any tools, that we can help create this wraparound, seamless program for families, the reality that you mentioned earlier, calls for that. Families are working full days. I would support that.
Chairman Riggs. Ms. Dollar.
Ms. Dollar. In Solano County, 75 percent of our families are TANF recipients; in Napa County, 25 percent are TANF recipients. We very much want the opportunity to transition into full-day, full-year where it is appropriate.
What we do not want to lose is the full, comprehensive approach to family support and family interaction. We do not want just to become a traditional child care program and lose that whole-family-intensive components.
Chairman Riggs. I understand that, but should a TANF recipient receive the highest priority for consideration for services under the reauthorized act?
Ms. Dollar. In our full-day, full-year expansion grant, we are giving priority to TANF families. That is important for our area.
Chairman Riggs. Okay. And you are still testifying that you would like flexibility in income-eligibility, and perhaps some sort of sliding fee rules that would facilitate full-day, full-year participation in Head Start for working families?
Ms. Dollar. Right. I do not think those things are competing. I think those things can both be addressed at the same time.
Chairman Riggs. Okay. And this is probably my last question, but I always figure you hold your bombshell to the end.
In considering any changes to the funding formula under Head Start and I long ago recognized any kind of funding formula change ensures a bitter, knockdown, drag-out political battle in the Congress but in considering a funding formula change, should we, at the minimum, update the "hold harmless," A; and, B, should we consider that new money goes out under a revised formula, a revised formula that could be exclusively TANF, or some combination TANF and the latest or most current poverty data?
So it is a twofold question for anyone that wants to respond. Should we update the funding formula; and secondly, should we consider changing the funding formula for new money? And new money, of course, are any annual spending increases through the appropriations bill for the Head Start program. Does anybody want to even try that? Dr. Horn, certainly you must have an opinion.
Mr. Horn. Formula fights are not very pleasant things to behold.
I do think that whatever you do, whether it is in the funding formula or whatever, you ought to use this opportunity to integrate Head Start more fully into the reality of welfare reform. The world has changed because of welfare reform in low-income communities, and if Head Start does not change with it, it will be left behind or become irrelevant. Or even worse, it will drag it down.
So whether that is best accomplished through a change in the funding formula or some other mechanisms, you have to figure out a way and make a priority within this reauthorization to ensure that those who are participants in welfare-to-work programs through TANF are not somehow then excluded from the opportunity to enroll their kids in Head Start, which is precisely what can happen when you have a part-day, part-year program and yet welfare-to-work programs are moving people into full-day, full-year work.
Chairman Riggs. That is a point very well taken, Dr. Horn. But there are those who have argued, for example, that a funding formula change that would stipulate new money would go out based primarily on TANF caseloads, primarily or exclusively on TANF caseloads, would actually, in a way, work against those States, or act as a disincentive for those States that have done a good job, either been on the cutting edge of welfare reform or have done a good job of moving more folks from welfare to work.
Mr. Horn. For example, there are seven counties in the State of Wisconsin that do not have a single person on cash welfare anymore. If you were to put out the money based upon a formula, you would be punishing them.
So you have to be careful when you change formulas for the law of unintended consequences, which unfortunately rears its head all too often.
Ms. Dollar. I have two comments about funding. One, we certainly want to emphasize Federal-to-local funding. We would not like to see Head Start block-granted to States. We know that the continuity and the flexibility that Federal-to-local funding allows enables us to meet the needs of individuals in our communities.
And, number two, I would certainly like to emphasize that funding remain with existing agencies. We know that regionalization of Head Start works. We know that we have been able to consolidate for better cost-effectiveness; to see four or five competing Head Start programs within one community is ludicrous, and the levels of administrative structure that that costs is not cost efficient.
Chairman Riggs. Ms. Aguilar?
Ms. Aguilar. Chairman Riggs, I would like to ask Dr. Kennedy to respond to your question.
Chairman Riggs. That would be fine.
Mr. Kennedy. Thank you. As you know, I am the Director of the L.A. County Office of Education Head Start State Preschool Programs, and in working with TANF and Head Start, the area around changing the formula has been discussed briefly among the child welfare providers, and the thought was, maintaining the Head Start formula as it is. But since TANF has a chance because it is new to change, the area would be in where the welfare recipients receive TANF dollars and they enroll their kids in Head Start, that the most cost-effective, cost-efficient way would be for them to pay for part of the Head Start program for the rest of the day that their kid maintains, since Head Start is already a half-day program, which would allow TANF dollars to be spread twice as far because you already have, in our case, 45 percent Head Start.
TANF recipients, if they were going for straight child care, they would have to pay for 100 percent of the day; the other half percent of the dollars, if they are enrolled in Head Start, could be used to wrap around.
Chairman Riggs. I appreciate the thoughtful suggestions. We will look forward to working closely with you and each of our witnesses. Our timetable is to, I guess I should say within the next 2 to 4 weeks, to produce a discussion draft, a preliminarily draft of the legislation. If you are interested, we would certainly like to share that with you at that point in time and to seek your specific thoughts and ideas. I know none of you will be bashful. Our intent is to get the best bill possible and to pass this legislation in this session of Congress.
With that, I again thank each of our witnesses for their participation today.
The Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:40 P.M., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]