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220 Learning Together with Young Children DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET In the 1990s, a trend toward accountability in education began. The National Education Goals Panel—which in- cluded state governors, members of the United States Congress, state legislators, and advisors—set the following goal: “By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn” (National Education Goal Panel 1991). In 1993 and 1994, legislation was passed calling for greater accountability and quality improvement based on further assessment for all federal programs. Head Start responded with the Head Start Program Performance Measures Initiative in 1995. This initiative established a framework for helping children meet the goals of social competence and school readiness. In 1997–1998, Head Start conducted a very large national study—the Family and Child Experiences Survey—to assess the outcomes of participation in Head Start for children and families. Results indicated that Head Start im- proves children’s social skills and narrows the gap between disadvantaged children and all children in vocabulary and writing skills (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2000). The National Research Council (1998) published a report from the Committee on the Prevention of Read- ing Difficulties in Young Children stating that large numbers of children have difficulty learning to read; and poor children, nonwhite children, and nonnative speakers of English are more likely to be among them. Many recom- mendations were made for providing language and literacy experiences for children and families during the early childhood years. In 1998, the United States Congress reauthorized Head Start and required that the Head Start Performance Standards be expanded to include thirteen specific child outcomes in the areas of literacy, language, and numer- acy. Head Start programs would be required to gather and analyze data on these child outcomes in order to make decisions about program quality. Head Start responded by building upon the framework of the Program Performance Measures to develop the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework. The framework was issued by the Administration for Children and Fami- lies (2000) along with information about using child outcomes in program assessment. In December 2000, the National Head Start Child Development Institute was offered to Head Start managers and educators to support them in identifying a curriculum approach that is consistent with Performance Standards and is based on sound child development principles about how children grow and learn. Each Head Start program is required to have a written plan that includes: • the goals for children’s learning and development • the experiences through which they will achieve these goals • the role of staff and parents in helping children achieve these goals • the materials needed to support the implementation of the curriculum A group of managers, education consultants, and education coordinators from our Head Start agency attended the National Head Start Child Development Institute. Upon their return to Kansas City, a Curriculum Committee was formed and charged with the task of developing a written curriculum plan for the agency. Education Coordi- nator Barbara Otto was assigned to lead the work of the committee. Education Manager Liz Smith was asked to oversee the process. Early childhood education experts Dr. Ed Greene and Dr. Jacqueline Jones were contracted to work as consultants for the Curriculum Committee. During preliminary committee meetings, it was noted that our agency was very large and diverse. Our program options included Head Start, Early Head Start, Center-Based or Home-Based Services, Family Child Care, Partnership Sites, and the Kansas City, Missouri School District and Independence School District Delegate Agencies. At the time, education staff members from these various program options were utilizing several different curriculum models. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL