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Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Local agency among 122 that must compete for federal early childhood funds

A local Early Head Start program that operates in Englewood and Schaumburg is one of 122 around the country that must compete for Head Start or Early Head Start funds once its current grant runs out.

In a recent review, Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois failed to meet new standards that took effect in 2012, officials at the U.S. Department of Human Services announced Thursday. That means its grant money could be up for grabs once its current contract with the federal government expires.

Programs must now compete for funding if they have financial or management problems, if on-site monitoring reviews find issues, or – starting this year – if they score in the lowest 10 percent of programs on a classroom observation tool.

The agency says it needs to re-compete due to administrative issues, not safety or classroom quality problems. 

Jan Stepto-Millett, vice president of early childhood services at Children’s Home and Aid Society, says federal reviewers found the organization didn’t meet federal standards for how frequently certain information is reported to the organization’s board. “They were administrative standards that had nothing to do with our program’s health and safety of children,” Stepto-Millett says.

Mike Shaver, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Children’s Home and Aid, says he feels the process was fair but adds that “it is frustrating to find that a set of administrative operations, that have little to do with what goes on in the classroom, can compromise and unsettle the whole grant process.”

Other local programs that have passed since the new standards went into effect include CEDA’s Head Start program and Howard Area Community Center’s Early Head Start program.

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (which administers programs in dozens of community agencies and Chicago schools), Chicago Commons Early Head Start, El Valor Head Start, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund will all face reviews in the coming two years.

1 comment

Jason Mead wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

School Closings

With not more than 20\50 students in schools that has housed 500 or 600 students is senseless to keep open. Heating and lighting can get expensive. And the cost it is to renovate some of the old Cps buildings is a little far fetch. A lot of those students in those low performing schools are missing out on an education. the Administration needs to change. If it keeps the same leaders; and continue on probation status; then the change should start from the top. It means the school is being led in the wrong direction. Some schools have children leaving in packs because of poor administration. Those LSC need to be dissolved. They have swayed in favor of some of the Principals and not been truthful. How can a Principal receive high ratings; if his school is on probation. Immunization at the school was not fully done. Test scores were very low. Students leaving the school for a better school in pack. Discipline is negative. Something is wrong with the picture. It is time those schools changed for the better. Money is being wasted at some.

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