What about the children…
Recent budget cuts and sequestration will be forcing thousands of low-income, pre-school-aged children out of the popular “Head Start” schooling program and many parents and school administrators are being left to figure out what to do next.
via Think Progress
The early childhood education program Head Start provides educational opportunities specifically to low-income kids. But 70,000 of those students will lose the opportunity to be in the program as a result of the drastic reductions in funding triggered by sequestration.
Reports are beginning to roll in about how children will bear the brunt of Congressional inaction. In several states, programs have to decide where they will make the cuts. In some cases, that means picking which students will be kept in the program, and which will be forced to leave:
INDIANA: “At least two Indiana Head Start programs have resorted to a random drawing to determine which three-dozen preschool students will be removed from the education program for low-income families, a move officials said was necessary to limit the impact of mandatory across-the-board federal spending cuts. [Programs] in Columbus and Franklin are losing two classrooms, meaning 36 children won’t be able to return after Friday. [Indiana Journal Gazette, March 13, 2013.]
TENNESSEE: “A letter went out recently to parents and guardians with children in the program stating that the cuts have affected the Head Start program in several ways. One, and perhaps the move that hurts more families than any, is that all bus transportation will discontinue on March 18. The letter was sent out shortly after the sequestration took place on March 1 to give the parents a couple of weeks to try to find alternate means of transportation. [Clairebornprogress.net, March 13,2012]
WASHINGTON: ‘We’ll [lose] money for the child care food program. And there may be dollars lost from our partnership with the Spokane School District for serving kids with disabilities,’ said [The Director of Program Services, David Colburn] Colburn.[…] Spokane Head Start currently serves 900 families and there are a thousand more on the waiting list. [KREM.com, March 1, 2013.]
It’s so unfortunate that essential programs like these are some of the first to take the biggest hits every year as a result of federal and/or state budget cuts. Hopefully something can be worked out to minimize this trend ASAP.