Letter: Head Start funding should flow directly to local communities

Access to Head Start is life changing for at-risk children and families in Alaska. For more than 40 years, CCS Early Learning has provided high quality early childhood education and family assistance in Chugiak, Eagle River and the Mat-Su Borough. Our goal: Ensuring every child, regardless of circumstance at birth, is fully prepared to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

Other Alaska Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide these same services across our state. We each have done this in the most efficient and effective way possible — primarily utilizing federal funds and meeting federal regulations, but maintaining the flexibility to make local program and service delivery choices.  We all know that the services that are needed in Wasilla are quite different than those needed in Chevak, Bethel, Anchorage or Hoonah. This “federal to local” funding model, letting local programs design services that best meet the needs of their local community, has been successful across the country for many years.

Direct federal funding is crucial in maintaining Head Start programs’ consistent, high-quality services that are placing Alaska families on the path to self-sufficiency. Please join me in encouraging our elected officials in Washington to keep Head Start funding flowing directly to our local communities.

— Mark Lackey