News Releases

(Washington, D.C.)- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) released the following statement as the Senate passed the Head Start for School Readiness Act, which reauthorizes the federal Head Start program.  Murray, as a member of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), was a key participant in the negotiations that created the bill.

Senator Murray’s statement follows:

"Today in the Senate, we took an important step forward to help ensure that all children have access to quality early childhood education.  As a former pre-school teacher, I know first-hand that effective early learning can have an enormous impact on a child’s future success in school and in society.  As I’ve visited Head Start centers across Washington state, I’ve heard from teachers, parents, and advocates about ways to improve Head Start, and I’ve been pleased to help incorporate their suggestions into this bill.

"The Head Start for School Readiness Act makes several important changes to strengthen Head Start.  First, it helps raise the quality of Head Start services across the country to ensure that all children, no matter where they live, receive high quality, consistent services.  Second, this bill will help ensure that all Head Start partners – from early childhood centers to elementary schools, child care centers, health care providers, and family service centers -- are working together in a coordinated way to best serve young children and their families.   

"As a parent and former educator, I know how important it is to support parents and to engage them in their children’s education.  In this bill, I’ve worked to give parents a strong voice through Policy Councils.  I’m also pleased that this bill makes progress in improving access for homeless and foster students as well as for Indian and migrant students.  Washington state is a leader in coordinating early learning efforts, and in the Senate, I’m working to build on that progress as this bill moves forward.

"It has been too long since the federal government updated Head Start to meet the current needs facing young children and their families across the country.  We have a strong bill, and I will continue working until these improvements are finally signed into law. "