Letters to the Editor

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HEAD START: Sequestration cuts will affect everyone

Letter by Sonja H. Lennox, Tacoma on Sep. 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm | 36 Comments »
September 13, 2012 4:39 pm

I have had two children attend Head Start. Head Start is a high quality early education program that not only focuses on children’s school readiness but helps the whole family get back on their feet so they can become contributing members of their community.

This program helped me return to school to complete my bachelor’s degree and has given my children a safe, nurturing environment where they learned life skills to be prepared for kindergarten and beyond.

In January 2013, if Congress doesn’t agree to a deficit-reduction plan, $1.2 trillion in cuts will be achieved through sequestration – automatic, across-the-board budget reductions that will come from defense and non-defense spending.

The looming 7.8 percent cut to non-defense discretionary programs will have a serious, immediate, and disruptive impact on the vulnerable children and families we serve. In Washington 1,356 children would be dropped from the Head Start program; 153 children would come directly from our area.

These damaging cuts would affect not only low-income children but all children. Studies have shown that at-risk children without high-quality preschool were 70 percent more likely to commit violent crimes, have lower graduation rates and higher drug use.

Head Start programs help reduce the amount of special education children need later in school. It doesn’t make sense to cut a program that returns $7 for every $1 invested in it. We need to teach children while they are young and in their formative years. Don’t let sequestration take away our children’s right to an education.

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