N.Y. Times, Oct. 4, 2013
By Brent Staples
The Republican shutdown of government is compounding what was already a disastrous year for Head Start, the federal program that prepares disadvantaged 3 and 4 year olds for school. This critically important program is already reeling from the sequester, the senseless across the board budget cuts that began last spring, which caused Head Start centers to scale back on transportation, basic learning materials and, in some cases, to even close their doors.
According to the National Head Start Association, owing to the sequester cuts that began in March, 57,000 fewer children will have access to the program this year — with even deeper cuts to come if the mindless process of budget cutting continues.
The shutdown is doing even more damage. According to the association, for example, the shutdown has prevented Head Start programs serving about 19,000 children across 10 states and Puerto Rico from accessing the federal funds that they had been awarded. Furthermore, programs in five states — Alabama, Mississippi, Connecticut, Georgia and Florida — have already shut down.
As the shutdown and the sequester wear on, in other words, more and more young children will be deprived of crucial services that are intended to help them succeed at school and escape poverty. This backsliding comes at a time when the country should be improving the quality of Head Start offerings and broadening access to especially vulnerable groups like the children of the homeless.
More In Taking Note
Closing the Government to Save Face
The Republicans’ crusade, ostensibly about dismantling health care reform, is really about showing angry constituents that they’re willing to fight.
With the Jobs Report, No News Isn’t Good News
Due to the shutdown, there’ll be no jobs report on Friday, and decision-making in all spheres will be less informed.
How the Shutdown May Hurt the Environment
Republicans who detest the E.P.A. were not bothered in the least by the fact that the agency furloughed more than 90 percent of its employees.
© 2013 New York Times Company