Archive for the ‘Head Start’ Tag

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Bill Maher “In America we talk a lot about entitlements, and who are the takers and who are the makers, and here’s the bottom line from the current issue of Harper’s. Federal yearly spending per child $3,822. Federal yearly spending per senior $25,455. Seniors keep asking what kind of world are we leaving for our grandkids. Well, one where Head Start, nutrition assistance, and child welfare are being cut. These days, when grandpa finds a quarter behind your ear, he keeps it…..Let’s not kid ourselves where our dollar goes. It goes to grandma because she votes, and young people don’t.”

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Federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, are decreasing the already limited spaces in the national and state Head Start preschool programs.

In northwest Vermont, 71 slots for Head Start have been cut heading into this school year, said Paul Behrman, director of the Champlain Valley Head Start program which serves Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle and Addison counties. In Franklin County, 10 preschool slots have been eliminated between the start of the 2012-2013 and the upcoming school years, he said.
The eliminated preschool slots are a result of $800,000 in cuts for Vermont’s Head Start and Early Head Start — a similar program for pregnant mothers and infants and toddlers up to two years old — programs.

Behrman said children and their families weren’t the only ones affected by the cuts. The Champlain Valley Head Start had to lay off seven full-time employees, as well as reducing the hours for 10 other employees.
“Every job matters when providing direct service to young children,” said Behrman. “This is not the direction we should be going.”

Posted August 24, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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As the school year winds down, some of Vermont’s seven Head Start Programs are shutting down a few weeks early.

A few will be closed all summer. Many have already reduced enrollment, eliminated management positions, and furloughed teachers—and those cuts are likely to deepen next year unless Congress acts on sequestration budget cuts.

Last April, Head Start got the first wave of bad news. In Vermont, federal sequestration reduced grants to programs by 5.27 percent.

The downsizing didn’t all kick in at once, because each of the state’s seven programs gets their federal grants at different times. But according to a recently completed survey of directors, more than half of Vermont’s Head Start programs have or will cut either teachers, management, or enrollment. Some classrooms will be closed altogether.

The Lyndonville Head Start Center is open this summer, but Director Sue Bates says staffers are being furloughed for as many as four weeks between now and October.

What worries her more is the prospect of deeper cuts that might kick in for the next fiscal year, which starts on October 1.

“You know at that point when the school year has already started it will be very difficult for families if we have to cut families or staff,” Bates said.

That’s also keeping other program directors awake at night, says Vermont Head Start Association Director Paul Behrman.

“In terms of our current projections for the 2013 and 2014 school year, if that level of funding cut occurs we are looking at reducing enrollment statewide by at least another 71 slots for Head Start and Early Head Start, which would make the combined enrollment reduction between this school year and next school year upwards of 200 slots, approximately two hundred and ten,” Berhman said.

He says that’s a sizable chunk of the roughly 1,600 Vermont children and their families use the program–a small fraction of those who qualify for it.

Posted June 1, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. With big budget cuts looming, it might seem crazy to talk about new spending, but let me try anyway. Here is a plea for a tiny, but vital increase in federal spending.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama proposed to expand early childhood education for children from poor families. This is an important idea that could begin to help redress a huge problem in America, the lack of economic mobility.

America has long been seen as the place where anyone can make it. And yet over studies from the past two decades all point to a different reality. Economic mobility in the U.S. is low compared with what it was in times past and with current levels in many European countries and Canada.

You hear all about rags-to-riches stories, but they are the exceptions. A comprehensive study by the Pew Economic Mobility Project documents that in the U.S. today, few poor people become even upper middle class.

Now some of the criticism of President Obama’s program has come from people who worry about the government’s track record in the area of early childhood education. They point to Head Start, the long- standing program that provides this education to disadvantaged children.

The Department of Health and Human Services released a study of Head Start in 2010, which was updated in 2012, which concludes that its positive effects begin to fade within a few years. This has led many to call the program a failure and urge the government not to throw good money after bad.

But people are jumping to conclusions about a very complicated subject without really understanding the study or the limitations of social- science research.

Three scholars from the University of Chicago and University of California at Davis, painstakingly explained why it is premature to reject Head Start. They note that many factors may have intervened to erode the early gains in test scores.

For example, there have been sharp rises in single-parent families, rises in non-English-speaking households and rises in severe health problems like childhood obesity and diabetes.

Most important, some studies show that though test scores level out, children who have been through early education do better in their professional lives.

The more we learn about neuroscience, the clearer it becomes that the human brain develops much sooner than we had believed so early stimulation and education can be highly effective.

Look at the data from the rest of the world. A 2012 report from the OECD studying data from 34 rich countries concludes that early- childhood education “improves children’s cognitive abilities, helps to create a foundation for lifelong learning, makes learning outcomes more equitable, reduces poverty and improves social mobility from generation to generation.”

In many rich countries, 90 percent of 3-year-olds get early childhood education. The average for 4-year-olds is 81 percent. In the U.S., it is only 69%, and those children tend to be from middle- and upper- middle-class families.

American government set the pace for education in the past 150 years. We’ve been the first country to offer mass education anywhere. That lead is now gone.

Obama’s proposals will help the U.S. start to catch up in the great struggle for high-quality human capital that is going to define the new century.”