October is Head Start Awareness month, which ironically
began the same day many Head Start programs were forced to shutter their doors
due to the government shutdown. With each additional day, a growing number of programs struggle to stay afloat.
Several programs are trying to stay open as long as they can on funds they receive from other sources; many also received federal grant money in August. However, about 23 programs were slated to receive their federal grant money on October 1st. Add this to a system that has already lost as many as 57,000 seats as a result of sequestration.
Aside from obvious effects of shuttering of these programs (parents having to find emergency day care, etc.), there is a more devastating effect. Study after study shows that children's experiences in the early years have a tremendous effect on their academic achievement later in life.
Every day with no class leaves children in underserved communities further behind.
Tick tock, Congress.
Thankfully, some have stepped up to fill some of the funding holes. Our kudos to John and Laura Arnold who are generously donating $10 million dollars so 7,000 children can return to the early education they so vitally need.