President Bush wants to merge the successful federal program with other state-run pre-school plans. House Republicans say it will help more kids from lower-income families better prepare for kindergarten.
But critics worry how states will pay for Head Start under current budget strains. And they say it will gut essential health and social services from the program.
One local Head Start director is optimistic about Bush's proposal.
Dr. Mike Loso, from Harrisonburg City Schools, says, "That's certainly a part of his whole No Child Left Behind Act and it's filtering down to Head Start. He wants - and we want - our kids to be the best they can be to be prepared for school."
Loso says he is concerned mandatory federal evaluations of pre-schoolers might not be age-appropriate. But he says overall, he's not afraid of the increased accountability.