The 2014 Head Start Impact study, a follow-up of The Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) Final Report indicates some positive early childhood outcomes engendered by the Head Start (HS) Program even though only few impacts on children in Kindergarten through third grade (‘Head Start’, 2014). This signals a variety of challenges and issues especially lack of training resources and internet services, among others like quality problems, collaboration between rural HS grantees and other federal programs on transportation, among others (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, 2012). The issue of lack of training resources and internet services, is impacted by the system elements of funding, professional development and technical assistance and support. The National Head Start Association (NHSA) (2016) also identifies funding as one of the top issues that the HS program is dealing with, which basically underlies the provision of requisite resources needed in the achievement of HS goals. The lack of funding, amidst calls by various stakeholders and opponents of the program, will derail the provision of requisite resources for achieving the program’s goals especially for needy rural areas.
Lack of professional development and technical assistance will essentially curtail the quality of services provided by early childhood instructors whose expertise should be informed by current research, which implies the need for technical assistance (internet services). The lack of funding is intimately tied to potential problems regarding legislation, specifically pending reauthorization of the program as mounting criticisms and mixed results of the program’s efficacy may lead to reduced funding (NHSA, 2016). The implications with regard to the HS program as a whole is that it will need massive and continued re-evaluation in order to institute appropriate changes where necessary in order to ensure that provision of funds is informed by positive results. This will enable the government to enhance provision of early childhood care and education services to young children and their families while also revamping the abilities of instructors in the early childhood field. All these aspects contribute to greater understanding of early childhood systems in that it pinpoints the centrality of funding in early childhood programs which allows greater appreciation of the field from various perspectives including those of families, practitioners and other stakeholders.
- ‘Head Start Impact Study’. (2014). Congressional Digest, 93(4), 5-9.
- National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. (2012). Challenges to Head Start and Early Childhood Development Programs in Rural Communities-Policy Brief December 2012. Retrieved from http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/rural/publications/headstartearlychildhood2012.pdf
- The National Head Start Association (NHSA) (2016). Top Issues: Knowledge centre-Centre on advocacy. NHSA. Retrieved from https://www.nhsa.org/knowledge-center/center-advocacy/top-issues