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Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will announce changes to the Head Start program that will require an estimated one-third of all grant recipients to compete for federal funding, according to an administration official.
Obama will make the announcement when he travels to Philadelphia today. Head Start is a national program with a special focus on lower-income preschoolers that teaches reading and math skills before they enter elementary school. The program also serves infants and toddlers.
There are almost 1,600 Head Start and Early Head Start grantees nationally that teach almost 1 million children, according to the administration.
Obama is announcing changes that will require all lower- performing Head Start programs to compete for funds instead of receiving the money automatically, the official said. The new benchmarks to determine eligibility will mean, for example, that some programs that fail to show children are making academic program will lose funding. Grants will be reviewed every five years.
Today’s announcement is part of a series of initiatives the president is taking that he says will help create jobs and don’t require congressional approval. Obama rolled out a new campaign slogan Oct. 24 telling voters, “We can’t wait” for Congress to act.
Since then, he has announced changes in a program to help homeowners refinance underwater mortgages, steps to help ease the burden of student loans and yesterday’s plan to help veterans find jobs.
The president’s $447 billion package of tax cuts and spending, announced in September, was blocked by Republicans in the Senate and the administration is pushing lawmakers to hold votes on individual components of his plan.
--With assistance from John Hechinger in Boston. Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Jim Rubin.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kate Andersen Brower in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at firstname.lastname@example.org
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