California communities are being forced to cut preschool enrollment and other services for poor children in the wake of cuts to the national Head Start program. We’ll talk about the impact of the federal sequestration cuts on Head Start — and we’ll debate the effectiveness of the program. How well does Head Start prepare disadvantaged kids for kindergarten and beyond?

Lillian Mongeau, early education reporter for EdSource
Rick Mockler, executive director of the California Head Start Association
Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution and former director of the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education (appointed by President George W. Bush)
Belia Gonzalez, parent of a five-year-old son in Santa Clara County Head Start and member of the executive committee of the Parent Council

  • Chemist150

    While I think I turned out OK, I did have a preschool/kindergarten program outside of the public school system and I feel that it created problems.

    Entering first grade, I had actually all of the reading and writing for the year in kindergarten. While my kindergarten didn’t cover all of first grade, they had over prepared me for some aspects.

    I found this frustrating because I was not to the level of the most advanced but the average work was a repeat for me. The most advanced kids where clearly pushed much further by their parents which excluded me and I gained nothing from reading and writing but got all smilely faces (100%). By second grade, I’d learned cursive on my own and was yelled at by my teacher than I’d learn it when she taught it to me.

    Ironically and despite my “head start”, reading and writing remain my weakness to this day.

    In retrospect, I feel that I may have been better off if I’d been on the same page as all the other students so any particular needs could have been addressed as an average problem within the group rather than an outlier. The fact that I came in ahead of others may have hurt me more in the long run more than it helped.

  • Lillian Mongeau

    Thanks for having me on the show. Here’s a link to my ongoing coverage of Head Start – the cuts, the criticisms and the changes: http://www.edsource.org/today/category/early-childhood/head-start#.Ug57LlOASGl

  • DMarieSacks

    Many needs to consider – the mix of Parenting support and time for children with teachers seems to meet need to help make change within families as well as offer respite and development.

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