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How Obama's proposed increase in funding for childhood educational programs could affect El Paso

By Maria Garcia, MariaG@kvia.com.
Published On: Feb 14 2013 08:58:06 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 15 2013 08:08:57 PM CST

A closer look at how President Obama's proposal would affect educational programs.

EL PASO, Texas -

President Obama will soon present a proposal to increase government funding for early childhood educational programs, such as Head Start.

The President's proposal would make children from higher income levels, who currently don't qualify for subsidized head start, eligible for the subsidy.

The government would fund public preschool for any 4-year-old whose family income is 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level - a more generous threshold than the current Head Start program, which generally serves kids from families below 130 percent of the poverty line.

All 50 states and the federal government would chip in.

A 2010 Health and Human Services study spells out the benefits of head start and for many they're not enough for a massive investment. Others believe the advantages of head start are qualitative and can't be so easily measured.

The study revealed kindergarten students who went to Head-Start are more advanced in areas like literacy, language and vocabulary than those who didn't.

Though the same government study shows that virtually all academic advantage the Head-Start children gained - disappear by the end of first grade.

At Flying Colors, a network of three childhood educational centers that started 52 years ago, the owner believes head start gives children more than an academic advantage. "I know the studies you're talking about. But really, what they missed is what we call the other education, where we help develop that self esteem. They've got to gain those social skills," said Mike Hicks, in an interview Thursday.

The government has spent $100 billion on the program so far.

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