U.S. Congressman Dean Heller, R-Nev., was appointed to the Conference Committee on the Improving Head Start Act (H.R. 1429).
Heller, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, supported this measure because it will strengthen and improve the Head Start early childhood education program, said a press release announcing the appointment.
"The quality of early childhood education is absolutely critical to the future of every child in our country. The reforms in this bill will help institute needed changes to Head Start programs. Head Start students continue to enter kindergarten well below national norms in school readiness. Closing the school readiness gap will improve results for almost a million economically disadvantaged students nationwide," Heller said in the release.
Heller was appointed to the conference committee by House Leadership and is the only Republican freshman appointed to the conference committee.
"The Head Start program provides comprehensive health, developmental, and educational services to disadvantaged children, giving them the support they need to succeed in school and beyond," said Education and Labor Committee Senior Republican Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif. "Dean has been a leader in the drive to strengthen and reform critical education programs like Head Start. I'm confident that as a conferee on the Improving Head Start Act, he will work to strengthen the program and ensure it meets the needs of disadvantaged children."
The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private nonprofit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families.
The program focuses on helping preschoolers develop early reading and math skills needed to be successful in school.
In Nevada, Head Start services are offered by eight grantees in 50 centers statewide, and are all operated by nonprofit agencies. In the 2005-2006 school year, Head Start served 3,896 children and families. Total federal funding for Head Start programs throughout Nevada in 2003-2004 was $23,315,025.