New Performance Standards for Head Start
On June 16, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the first comprehensive revision of the Head Start Performance Standards since they were originally published in 1975. According to the HHS press release, the proposed rule "sets an expectation that all programs operate for a full school day and full school year; raises education standards to reflect current research on brain development, early learning, and effective practice; and builds teacher skills and improves classroom performance through a system of evidence-based, individualized professional development."
Among the principles that the proposed rules are intended to incorporate are that the "standards should reflect the centrality of parents and families in children's healthy development" and the "standards should be inclusive of Indian tribes, migrant and seasonal, and homeless populations as well as children with disabilities." The proposed rule includes a provision requiring programs to make an effort to actively recruit children with disabilities, and reflects a statutory requirement that at least ten percent of enrollees be children eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).