HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

 

 

January 29, 2003   Hearing Room E

1:00 PM Tapes  11 - 12

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Vic Backlund, Chair

Rep. Pat Farr, Vice-Chair

Rep. Elaine Hopson, Vice-Chair

Rep. Brad Avakian

Rep. Billy Dalto

Rep. Mary Nolan

Rep. Wayne Scott

 

VISITING MEMBER:                 Rep. Phil Barnhart

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Jim Keller, Committee Administrator

Jeana Harrington, Committee Assistant

 

 

ISSUES HEARD: Informational Meeting

                                                Head Start Pre-kindergarten presentation by Anita McClanahan, Oregon Department of Education (ODE)

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 11, A

004

Chair Backlund

Calls meeting to order at 1:08 PM. Welcomes colleagues, audience, and guest, Representative Barnhart. Opens informational meeting on Head Start Pre-kindergarten.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING

010

Rep. Barnhart

Thanks the chair. States early child education is an issue of great interest to him and to Oregon.

012

Chair Backlund

Welcomes presenter.

013

Anita McClanahan

Begins briefing on Oregon Head Start pre-kindergarten (EXHIBIT A). Provides program history and explanation.

038

Chair Backlund

View our program as a positive that it is similar to the federal program

040

McClanahan

Responds positively. Details the advantages of this with regard to service and funding. Explains the types of children that participate in Head Start. Highlights that the Oregon Head Start program is the one existing state program that ensures impoverished children services necessary for their age. Lists facts about Head Start. Refers committee to (EXHIBIT B). Explains that program models are based in the needs of community and the decisions of locals. Details components of the program with regard to number of classes, demographics, and personnel. Discusses requirements for education staff. Reiterates that their primary mission is to ensure families can access what they need. Highlights their involvement as community partners. Overviews budget.

379

Rep. Dalto

Remarks that the employment wages are low. Asks if wages are increasing as the requirements for teachers are also increasing.

382

McClanahan

Responds that the federal office increases wages and benefits each year to allow for teachers to meet the requirements.

TAPE 12,A

004

Rep. Hopson

Asks a question regarding the demographics and primary language.

007

McClanahan

Answers that she is correct.

009

Rep. Hopson

Poses a question concerning the challenges faced as the number of children with English as a second language is increasing. 

012

McClanahan

Responds that the problem is finding individuals to work with these children. Adds that parents with students in the program volunteer themselves help teachers as interpreters.

030

Chair Backlund

Asks the average class size.

032

McClanahan

States that it is a regulated number. Lists the requirements for each specific program. Adds that nearly all of the programs have met the requirement.

037

McClanahan

Continues. Discusses targeted service goals of this and last biennium. States that factors including census data have shown there are more families eligible for the program, which will in turn lower the service level, which is about 9,700 collectively.

090

Rep. Scott

Clarifies that 9,700 students are currently served, and that this is a service level of about 45% of eligible children.

098

McClanahan

Responds. Gives additional statistics relating to poverty level. States that the rates used are different by agency. States there is a discrepancy as to the formula for percent served, and that they will research to resolve this.

127

McClanahan

Continues discussion of budget. Presents information considering the potential for reductions due to Measure 28. Lists examples of ways they can meet their budget if cuts occur. States commitment to offering a solid program despite this. Adds this may mean fewer children are served.  States that federal law requires ten percent of children with disabilities to be served by Head Start. States they are now serving eighteen percent.

252

Rep. Dalto

Asks if special education professionals are on staff.

254

McClanahan

Answers that Head Start has contracts and partnerships with other programs and additionally links to regional disabilities teams who offer these services. Adds they train the classroom staff as well.

271

Rep. Dalto

Inquires who funds the professionals that come in.

274

McClanahan

Responds that funds come from Educational Service Districts (ESD) or from the program relating to the service.

277

Rep. Scott

Asks if funding for these programs is in addition to the budget they are providing.

279

McClanahan

States that is accurate and that there are additional funds for additional. services.

284

Rep. Barnhart

Requests a description of Head Start’s relationship with school districts.

286

McClanahan

Advises that there are a variety of ways this occurs although she wishes there were more links to the public schools.  

313

Rep. Farr

Asks how Head Start coordinates with other early education programs.

315

McClanahan

Uses the Lane County Head Start as an example of this.

338

Chair Backlund

Inquires how the children are chosen for the program?

340

McClanahan

Explains that each local community designs a policy by which they admit children. Adds that poverty is the number-one factor, a locale can additionally use other factors in its decision. Lists sibling served, incarcerated family members, drug and alcohol addicted family members, and parents who have medical needs as possible other factors. Offers that no admissions are mandated.

374

Chair Backlund

Wonders what happens if parents do not participate.

376

McClanahan

Identifies they make every effort to encourage participation. Informs it has recently become harder because parents need to work. Offers that one way to continue communication is through the home visiting program. Adds that families get minimum of two visits a year, and this varies by program.

410

Chair Backlund

Comments on home visits and how they were utilized when he was a teacher.

428

McClanahan

Says she received home visits as a parent. States that as a former principal, she made it a priority for her school.

TAPE 11,B

030

McClanahan

Continues and provides that the Governor’s budget shows reductions for them. Reiterates cuts will be in the number of children served, not in the extent of the program. Restates their commitment to maintaining their program. Voices their desire to maximize the resources they do have. Refers to (EXHIBIT A) to show the progress of Head Start with regard to readiness for Kindergarten.

045

Rep. Avakian

Asks if families who were unable to be included in the program are tracked in case of a waiting list.

056

McClanahan

Answers that they currently are not at the state-level, but that individual programs do keep that information in case a space becomes available.

066

Chair Backlund

Inquires is she would conclude that students in the program have a better start, and are more successful in the long-term.

071

McClanahan

Answers that students in Head Start are ready to enter Kindergarten on par with their peers. Adds that Head Start follows them into an unfamiliar setting and beyond. States that without Head Start, these children would have no opportunities. Offers that the only tools most of the children have are from Head Start. Remarks that many of these families involved are so distressed they are unable to communicate with each other. Voices her belief that Head Start helps parents to communicate and become an educators of their children.

099

Rep. Barnhart

Wonders if there is the potential for children who do not meet poverty criteria, but do meet the other possible factors, to be admitted to the program. Asks if she has any numbers of these children.

110

McClanahan

Says she is positive there are other children who would benefit from Head Start that would never qualify. Provides they are looking into quality assurance standards in other childcare arenas. Adds there is no clear picture of how many “neglected” children there are. Offers there is national dialog of a preschool for all children. Comments on the special skills required to work with young children.

148

Chair Backlund

Asks if studies as to how Head Start children have progressed, specifically at the third grade reading level, have been executed.

150

McClanahan

Responds that they would like to perform these studies. Adds they are working to improve collection of data and their database. Comments that public schools are concerned with their mission and their task, but adds that preschool needs to be included in that mission. Explains talk about disadvantaged children is necessary with regard to the task.

188

Chair Backlund

Clarifies that these conversations are currently being held.

189

McClanahan

Responds yes.

204

Chair Backlund

Thanks her. Closes informational meeting. Adjourns hearing at 2:20 PM.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – Informational, Overview of Head Start Pre-kindergarten, Anita McClanahan, 2 pp

B – Informational, Head Start of Lane County,  3 pp