Monday, January 12, 2009

Save Head Start!

Ed: This is a guest post by Laura Myers '09.

Head Start is our nation’s premier early childhood education program. While considered a “school readiness program,” Head Start is unique in that it is also a parent empowerment program, a health care program and an anti-poverty program. Since 1965, Head Start has served 25 million children and their families. Unfortunately, our nation no longer seems to care.

For six years, the Head Start program has suffered from decreased funding. Currently, funding is 22% below the level it was promised in the December 2007 program reauthorization. Because of this, Head Start programs across the country are having to cut vital services and reduce enrollment.

With a new Congress and a new administration planning an Economic Recovery Package, we have an immediate opportunity to make sure that Head Start gets the financial support it needs. The National Head Start Association is requesting $4.3 billion from the Economic Recovery Package.

Given all the proposals that Congress is considering, Head Start must be recognized as an essential community strategy for economic recovery. The money requested will create jobs as it is used to fix buildings, buses and playgrounds to improve services for the students. Additionally, by supporting Head Start programs, the funding will help more families get back to work by ensuring that their children have safe, high-quality programs to attend during the work day.

To make sure that Head Start is included in the package, your members of Congress need to hear from you! Go to www.SaveHeadStart.org to send an email to your members of Congress. The website also has information on how to call your local Congressional delegation.

Thanks to all of you for your support. The local Northfield Head Start and all those across the country appreciate your help.

For more questions about Head Start and what you can do, contact Laura Myers at myersl@carleton.edu.

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