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The Obama administration announced new standards Thursday aimed at better preparing children from low-income families for school.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the update is the first comprehensive revision of the Head Start program’s performance standards since they were created in 1975. 

Head Start is a federal program that provides early childhood education, health and nutrition services to children of low-income families.

The new standards increase the amount of time children spend in the program, require teachers to conduct standardized assessments of each child and strengthen parent participation.

“The new standards strengthen educational practices and are based on the best research about how children learn and develop,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement. “The standards we are announcing today will expand the number of children attending Head Start for a full school day and year, ultimately ensuring that nearly all children have access to such programs by 2021.”

Tags Early childhood education Education in the United States Head Start preschool Sylvia Burwell United States Department of Health and Human Services

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