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Research Report

State(s) of Head Start

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State(s) of Head Start is the first report to describe and analyze in detail Head Start enrollment, funding, quality, and duration, state-by-state. The report focuses on the 2014-2015 program year but also provides longitudinal data beginning with the 2006-2007 program year. Despite the fact that Head Start is a federally funded, national program, the report reveals that access to Head Start programs, funding per child, teacher education, quality of teaching, and duration of services all vary widely by state. This report’s findings underscore the need for greater coordination between Head Start and state and local government agencies to build high-quality early learning programs with widespread reach and adequate funding. The authors call for an independent bipartisan national commission to study the issues raised in this report and develop an action plan to ensure every eligible child in every state has an equal opportunity to benefit from Head Start.


Barnett, W.S. and Friedman-Krauss, A.H. (December 2016) State(s) of Head Start. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Related topics

Preschool and Child Care