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Mel Gravely

Effects of Sequestration Continue to Hurt Head Start Programs across the Country

whole_childThe federal government has reopened and the Head Start programs that were forced to shut down have reopened as well. Yet even as they reopen, it’s hard to ignore the fact that those programs are not the same today as they were before the across-the-board federal cuts known as sequestration that took effect in March of this year.

While the word “sequestration” is not receiving heavy rotation in the daily news like it once was, the truth is that it continues to affect the daily lives of many Americans, largely out of sight of everyone else.

In West Virginia, 461 children were dropped from the program. And if you live in Tucker County, WV, the program is no longer available at all.

In Pinal County, Arizona, 15 staff members lost their jobs and 57 seats were eliminated from the program.

In Hawaii, Head Start programs rely solely on federal government funding due to an amendment in Hawaii’s constitution which prevents the state from funding private education providers. (Head Start is most often administered by non-governmental, non-profit providers). But because of the effects of sequestration, voters will be able to amend the state constitution in a ballot initiative this November to change that.

Unfortunately, unless you have a child in Head Start who has now lost their seat, are a teacher who lost your job, or are an administrator who is asked to do more with less, many of the effects of these cuts go unnoticed. But they are real for tens of thousands of mostly poor American families.

Has sequestration affected your program? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.


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