National Head Start Association Statement:
Organizational Letter Calls for Protection of NDD Programs
Letter signed by nearly 3,000 organizations urges Congress to act quickly on balanced approach to restore fiscal stability
Washington, D.C. – Today, a letter signed by nearly 3,000 organizations was delivered to Congress calling for the protection of nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs. The letter urges Congress to avert the planned sequester and take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include additional cuts to these programs. Click here to view the letter. The following statement should be attributed to Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association:
“We are proud to join the nearly 3,000 national, state and local organizations representing the early education, health, law enforcement, science, housing, workforce, transportation and public safety communities in calling on Congress to protect nondefense discretionary programs.
For nearly 50 years, Head Start has harnessed learning possibilities by offering our country’s at risk children access to quality early education, health and support services during the critical window of opportunity from birth through age five. Sadly, the number of children languishing on Head Start waiting lists is growing as more and more families are slipping below the poverty line. In fact, 25 percent of American children under the age of six are living in poverty – that’s more than 6,000,000 children. Despite these appalling poverty figures, the sweeping, across-the-board spending cuts that sequestration mandates will mean 100,000 poor children across this nation will lose their Head Start and Early Head Start slots...right in the middle of the school year.
Let’s face it, at a time when Americans are struggling to stay ahead of the curve, eliminating 100,000 Head Start and Early Head Start slots will not only widen the achievement gap Head Start was designed to close – but force more parents out of jobs. Head Start and other non-defense discretionary programs – at 3.4% of the budget—are not the cause of our growing debt. Even completely eliminating all nondefense discretionary programs will not balance the budget, but these programs remain a popular target.
Without question, the needs of our nation’s children today are as great as they have ever been. We are hopeful Congress will act quickly on a balanced approach to restore fiscal stability that replaces the sequester and maintains funding for the 100,000 at-risk children whose early preparation for a lifetime of success is being threatened.” Additional information about the National Head Start Association can be found at
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