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Improving Head Start Act Of 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

IMPROVING HEAD START ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 02, 2007)

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Mr. HARE. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1429, the Improving Head Start Act. As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, I had the privilege of working on this bipartisan bill, which I believe will help more children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed. Not only does this bill improve teacher quality, expand access and strengthen school readiness, it also addresses the unique challenges faced by rural Head Start programs.

Much of my district is rural. Therefore, I worked with several of my colleagues to ensure Head Start providers receive the support and flexibility required to serve America's rural communities. Specifically, we provided the assistance needed to improve transportation services in rural areas, the recruitment and retention of qualified instructors for rural programs and outreach to rural families. Later today, I will offer an amendment with my colleagues, Congressmen SPACE, WELCH and ALTMIRE that will further expand this assistance to rural Head Start.

Head Start is the country's premier early education childhood development and education program, serving more than 900,000 of our Nation's most needy families annually. Children who attend Head Start make gains in vocabulary, early writing and social behavior and enter school better prepared than lower income children who do not attend Head Start.

It is critical that all eligible families know about Head Start and that Congress allocates the necessary resources Head Start providers need in order to continue and expand these successful programs.

I urge all my colleagues to stand up for rural and low income children by voting ``yes'' on H.R. 1429.

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Mr. HARE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I am honored to join Congressmen Space, Welch and Altmire in introducing this amendment to improve Head Start programs for rural communities.

Much of my congressional district is rural. Therefore, I am very sensitive to the unique challenges that Head Start centers and rural families face in providing or accessing Head Start programs. Some of these challenges include instructor shortages, access to Head Start programs and outreach to eligible families.

As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, I had the privilege of addressing these concerns during the markup of this bill. The amendment we present today expands those efforts by directing the Education Secretary to provide the technical assistance and training to remove barriers to professional development, parental involvement, home visits and health screening in rural areas.

It is my hope that with this commitment from the Secretary and with the addition of services geared towards the needs of rural families, more eligible children will enroll in and experience the benefits of the Head Start program. Rural communities consist of the low-income populations that Head Start was created to serve. Therefore, it is critical that we address the challenges these communities face in administering Head Start to ensure that those families have the access to the opportunities they need and they so much deserve.

Again, I thank my colleagues for helping me on this issue, and I urge all Members to vote ``yes'' to improve the rural Head Start program by passing the Space-Hare-Welch-Altmire amendment.

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