Polarized presidential race presents challenge to bipartisan sup - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Polarized presidential race presents challenge to bipartisan support for Head Start

October is Head Start Awareness Month. The agency has served preschool children’s education since 1965. (Source: KTRE Staff) October is Head Start Awareness Month. The agency has served preschool children’s education since 1965. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Weldon Beard, Texas Head Start Association President and Director of Greater East Texas Head Start, seeks bipartisan support for funding during a polarizing presidential election. (Source: KTRE Staff) Weldon Beard, Texas Head Start Association President and Director of Greater East Texas Head Start, seeks bipartisan support for funding during a polarizing presidential election. (Source: KTRE Staff)
A Community Resource Fair educates parents as their children learn in the classroom. (Source: KTRE Staff) A Community Resource Fair educates parents as their children learn in the classroom. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

October's Head Start Awareness month brings attention to the early childhood education agency and the advances its made since its beginning in 1965.

East Texas News went out to the Resource Fair held Friday in Nacogdoches and learned you don't have to be a pre-schooler to learn from Head Start.
Pre-schoolers learn every day in Head Start programs located in 12 locations across five East Texas counties. 

The scientifically and researched-based curriculum gives parent Adrian Bennett peace of mind about his 3-year-old son. 

"So when he goes to that next stage they be ready for it,” said Adrian Bennett, a parent of a Head Start student.

Parents learn, too. Workshops, such as today's Resource Fair, connects parents with service agencies in their community. 

"There are a lot of things that we have that we do make sure our parents have access to and that we can help them in any way that we can,” said Aniqua Rice, a Head Start caseworker.

Just as children are preparing for the outside world, so are parents.

Head Start parent Bobbie Russell gained confidence while serving on the Head Start Policy Council. Then she became its president. And now, she serves on the city-wide Nacogdoches Housing Authority Board. She thanks Head Start.  

"Exactly. Exactly,” Russell said. “It helps us to help our children and therefore we can help Head Start help us."

Weldon Beard is the GETCAP Head Start director and president of the Texas Head Start Association. His job is to seek bi-partisan support for Head Start programs. A polarized presidential election presents a challenge.   

"I am a little concerned, but I know over the past two years there's been a big investment in early childhood, so the actual legislature in office now, currently, believe early childhood makes a big difference,” Beard said.

Research shows Head Start is making a difference in the classroom. Parent testimonials explain how adult lives are changing. If the funding sources remain, generations to come will enjoy the same benefits.  

Beard has already scheduled a trip in January to Washington, D.C. 

The agenda is to learn what the new presidential administration has in store for the Head Start agency.

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