Making the Case: Improving Head Start Teacher Qualifications Requires Increased Investment

This brief—written by Katherine Hart and Rachel Schumacher—summarizes the research on the importance of teacher education and salary levels, provides a snapshot of Head Start and Early Head Start staff credentials and related issues, describes recent legislative history and changes on teacher qualifications, and assesses whether states and higher education systems are ready to address a major policy change. We conclude with a discussion of cost implications and policy recommendations for Congress.

This discussion draws from both relevant research and federal data from Program Information Reports (PIR) submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by all federal Head Start grantees.