Head Start

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President Bush is supporting what he calls an overhaul of Head Start, but opponents warn it would gut the program.

Bush is backing a bill sponsored by House Republicans that would provide for a smaller federal role in the program. It now gives help to nearly a (m) million three-and-four-year-olds from low-income families preparing for kindergarten.

The GOP measure would give some states the option of taking over the Head Start programs that are now directed by the federal government.

Bush notes the legislation also would evaluate children to determine if they're getting the right help in learning how to read.

He says this bill offers a "fantastic opportunity" to make sure every child becomes a good reader. He spoke at a Head Start center at an elementary school in Landover, Maryland.

But the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is warning against a declining federal role in Head Start. Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings calls the overhaul plan an attack on a program that is vital for low-income Americans.