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Sorry, kids
Here's what passes for good news in the era of sequestration: "Only" 57,000 children are being kicked out of Head Start, instead of the 70,000 that had been projected. Along with those 57,000 children losing their preschool, 18,000 Head Start workers are being laid off or having their pay cut. And of course, the parents of kids who no longer go to Head Start will have to find new child care or face possible job loss themselves.

So why isn't the number of Head Start spots eliminated 70,000? Was the Obama administration just trying to put out scary-big numbers to avert sequester, as Republicans have charged in so many other cases? The difference was made up in other cuts that didn't eliminate Head Start spots, but are still causing some serious pain:

Some Head Start centers focused on cutting administrative and support services, such as transportation. Others chose to shorten the school year or the school day. The latest figures show that 18,000 program hours will be cut next year by centers that will start later in the day or end earlier.
If a Head Start program cuts transportation, that means there are families that won't be able to get their kids to school each day. A shorter school year or shorter days means, again, that parents have added challenges in balancing their jobs and caring for their kids. Dental and health screenings were cut, too. And, again, these cuts mean hours and pay cuts for Head Start workers.

But hey, this ripple effect of Head Start staff and parents losing jobs and hours and kids losing out on early childhood education is nothing compared to the relief we all feel at preserving corporate tax loopholes, amiright? Or is that feeling only common among congressional Republicans?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Maybe I'm biased because I benefited from (8+ / 0-)

    Head Start myself, in 1973, about eight years after the start of the program.

    It's a truly, truly shitty program to cut for any reason. The lunacy of the sequester...

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:32:35 AM PDT

    •  To clarify my English: it's a great program, (7+ / 0-)

      and shitty to cut it.

      I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

      by commonmass on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:42:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I also benefited from head start in the 70's (5+ / 0-)

      when my mom was begining her teaching career. My oldest child who is on the autism spectrum also attended head start, which gave him the opprotunity to familiarize himself with the routines and rules of his gradeschool before kindergarten started. It is an absolutely wonderful program and it should be offered as an early childhood educational option to all of our children. Unfortunately my two youngest were not eligible since they are not recieving special education services and my family's income exceeds the income cut-off.

      Cutting headstart is mind-boggling in its short-sightedness.

      •  We need a "Head Start Grads" action group. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coconutjones, elfling

        I mean here at Daily Kos, because I am sure there are others. I was eligible because I had a speech impediment, and also needed socialization. I got speech therapy and the socialization, and was reading at third grade level by the end of Kindergarten and have become a very accomplished public speaker. I give Head Start (and my parents) credit for that. Every kid, even rural ones like me, deserves that head start. LBJ agreed, too.

        I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

        by commonmass on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:26:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i qualified because (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, commonmass

          mom was an americorp teacher in a rural area. I know she wasn't well compensated but i don't know if i was eligible because of our income level or because of her position, I loved it and was also reading well beyond my grade level by the end of kindergarten. I credit all of my later academic success (not my spelling skills :)) to the habits I formed in Headstart. Your idea of an action group is a good one.

        •  I think that would be a great idea (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, coconutjones

          It could make a huge difference in the public perception of the program.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 12:00:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll write a diary and see who's interested. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elfling

            But I'm deeply involved right now, including with the group Dave in Northridge and I just launched, LGBT Rights are Human Rights. Doesn't mean I can't multi-task and I would love to write the diary and see who would volunteer to help with it.

            This kind of Great Society Stuff is important. These programs that many would like to get rid of, that have been around for half a century, and get in the middle of the sequester, we all have stories those of us who benefited from them.

            I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

            by commonmass on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 12:07:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  public perception (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elfling

            Public perception is precisely the reason our best/most effective social programs are being cut. Privateers do not want the public to benefit from any gov't  program because  it doesn't fit their "gov't is bad" narrative.

  •  Well, "It could have been worse!" (NOT!) n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, Involuntary Exile, mapamp

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:33:28 AM PDT

  •  Excellent. (10+ / 0-)

    The Republican agenda rolls forward, with Democratic assistance.

    While a Democratic President came up with the sequester, it is nothing but a republican wet dream - except for that part that affected waiting with commoners at airports - they fixed that shit so fast it wasn't funny.

    Add this to the war on voters, the war on women, the war on the poor.

    Republican agenda doing pretty well.

    •  The republicans/teabaggers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xxdr zombiexx, shoeless, mapamp

      are at war on so many different fronts, isn't it about time we just come out and say it, that they are in a full fledged war against the rest of America?  

      Also, is it just me or does it not seem as though we are playing defense and have no clear offense?
      So we end up capitulating as we so often do and lose more ground in all these wars.

      The republican/tea bag party has done everything but actually make a declaration of war, however, make no mistake, we are under a full scaled attack.

      I feel as though we are fighting this on the back of our heels.
      My 2 cents FWIW.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

      by wxorknot on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:02:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's just too much (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wxorknot, mapamp, bryduck

        equivocation and attempts to be clever here: many just totally miss the point.

        There is huge danger in missing the point when people try to pain repubs as "scared" or "hapless" or "out of touch".

        Tehy are prosecuting an agenda and doing it very well. They are getting what they want. Destroying the VRA was no accident - it was a huge victory and we see it being implemented lightening fast where they can do it.

        Dems still appear wither complicit or incompetent. Confused and disorganized, complacent, ignorant of the realities or just trying to be so nice and warm and fuzzy they cannot see the proverbial gun to their heads.

        It's very very depressing.

        The economy is devastated if you're not already rich.

        I cannot say the rest of what I think.

    •  the war on children has been going on for decades. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless, mapamp, IrishGreg

      Kids don't vote, don't contribute to campaigns, & don't run PACs, so why do anything to help those losers? Don't worry about their future--we won't be here.

  •  We've become a society that sacrifices children (14+ / 0-)

    ....to protect its armaments.  Defense contractors squeal and scream about the slightest nick or cut imposed by the sequester, while impacted social services are too often overlooked.   Thanks for shining light on this sad reality.

  •  Perspective such as the entire size (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical

    of the program would be helpful (e.g., were these cuts 90% ? 0.9%  (etc) of the entire program?)

  •  Thank god the multiplier is only a fictitious lib (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nance

    construct.  Because if it was real, the loss of those teaching jobs might hurt the local economies.  Thank god the middle class spending power has absolutely nothing to do with macro economies, especially on the local neighborhood level.

    Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

    by Floyd Blue on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:18:19 AM PDT

  •  Why are we trying to reduce the deficit again? (0+ / 0-)

    Macroeconomics 101
    GDP = Govt spending + Private sector spending + Net Exports
    It is mathematically impossible to grow the economy (GDP) while cutting the inputs that make up the equation.

    Cutting Federal spending = diminished input
    raising taxes (especially broad based taxes like the FICA increase that took ~$120 billion out of the hands of consumers at the beginning of the year) lowers another input, private sector spending

    This shit is not that complicated

    How about viewing the economy through National Sectoral Accounting?
    Govt sector balance = Private sector balance + Foreign sector balance

    So if we have a negative foreign sector balance (trade deficit) and we want to maintain a positive private sector balance, then by definition the Govt's balance must be in deficit greater than the trade deficit.  Again, simple accounting.  Here's what the balances of the last 50 years look like, does anyone notice that the only time the private sector was in deficit was during the Clinton surplus era.  And we all see how well a huge private sector debt load is serving us now, Great Recession anyone?

    http://soberlook.com/...

    And here's private sector debt from 1900 to present, notice how the only two depressions of the last hundred years coincide with large private sector deleveraging.  Coincidence?  I think not.

    http://static.seekingalpha.com/...

    The deficit needs to be bigger right now, not smaller.

    If unemployment is too high => the deficit is too small
    If inflation is too high => the deficit may be too big

    MMT

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens.................... Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

    by Auburn Parks on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:18:47 AM PDT

  •  Yes, I do consider this good news. (0+ / 0-)

    No budget that Republicans had any part of would have included a single dime for Head Start.  Instead of comparing sequester to what we'd like, compare it to what we would have actually gotten with the current state of play.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:28:18 AM PDT

  •  Oh the comments!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian

    I just had to read them!
     

    End Head Start - it is a worthless taxpayer burden that needs to end.

    Either get up and get a job or sleep until noon and keep mooching off of taxpayers. The time
    will come when these people will sink or swim. I could really less what these takers do. They
    can live in tents or in boxes. These moochers are a disease on our country.

    Sirius2

    Thankfully there are some sane comments but the mean-spirited comments are depressing.

    "Growing your own food is like growing your own money" Ron Finley guerilla gardener extraordinaire. http://ronfinley.com/

    by pitbullgirl65 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:30:04 AM PDT

  •  sequester rhymes w fester... (2+ / 0-)

    rich people get richer on the backs of poor children that the right fought to get born and then not only lost interest but seek to punish for the temerity of not being rich?

    we are getting numb to this horror!

  •  strawman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turn Virginia blue

    the debt is a strawman, it it wasn't there would be a footrace by the right to raise taxes...

  •  The USA (5+ / 0-)

    Has one of the latest school age starts in all developed countries. It also has one of the weakest institutional supports for daycare or preschooling. Head start is the minimum we should be doing.

    Pathetic that someone can still say US number one U S A when we are at the damn bottom on any measure in education compared to other industrial countries

  •  Also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ramoth, Teiresias70

    I think many people don;t know or realize of this

    The average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly), according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). Parents report higher costs – up to $2,000 a month for infant care – in cities like Boston and San Francisco.
    Source http://www.babycenter.com/...

    I can tell you that the lower ones, anything less than $6,000 a year, is an old lady with house adapted as daycare. Loving ladies, lots of work but hardly the best thing in terms of security and development.

  •  Less educated populace = (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapamp

    a potential for more GOP voters.  A good portion of the GOP base is the uneducated who come to Fox News, Rush, Beck, etc. to tell them how to think.  If the GOP can get a "head start" on keeping education at a minimum, they feel they can expand their base.

  •  Cutting this is just stupid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IrishGreg, wxorknot, mapamp

    not inadvisable, not regrettable, out and out fucking stupid.  Study after study has shown the benefits of early childhood education, which is why people who can afford it send their kids to pre-school not just day care.  If we had any sense at all we would have public pre-school.  Instead we cut it and the education grifters work to destroy the rest of public education.

    This cannot end well.

    •  The evidence on Head Start is not very clear (0+ / 0-)

      The best available data show very limited persisting benefit past kindergarten.  

      Head Start Impact Study and Follow-up, 2000-2012

      Key Findings
      Looking across the full study period, from the beginning of Head Start through 3rd grade, the evidence is clear that access to Head Start improved children’s preschool outcomes across developmental domains, but had few impacts on children in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Providing access to Head Start was found to have a positive impact on the types and quality of preschool programs that children attended, with the study finding statistically significant differences between the Head Start group and the control group on every measure of children’s preschool experiences in the first year of the study. In contrast, there was little evidence of systematic differences in children’s elementary school experiences through 3rd grade, between children provided access to Head Start and their counterparts in the control group.
      For me, that it is puzzling, but it shouldn't be ignored.  This article proposes some possible explanations:

      Interpreting the conflicting evidence on Head Start effectiveness

      What's amazing to me is that there has only been a single randomized trial in the 40+ years of this huge program.

      •  So turns out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        the control group for that study includes kids in other subsidized preschool programs, not kids who didn't have any preschool.

        In many cases, Head Start preschool is run by the same people running state subsidized preschool, so it is the same program. No surprise that differences are minimal.

        There is a long term study that shows that kids in quality preschool programs have better outcomes as adults.

        Nearly every middle class parent considers preschool to be an essential part of their parenting plan. If this is the case, why would we want to deny preschool to kids in poverty? Head Start is only available to kids living below the poverty line, and sadly, there aren't enough slots for them all.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:12:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's very hard to do a study like this (0+ / 0-)

          You can't randomize the kids to "no treatment" if there is a likely benefit that is being withheld.    Newer standards of research ethics has made those kinds of comparisons harder, which is mostly a good thing.  And really, you want to compare the intervention to what the kids would have had otherwise, which would have been a mix of various types of preschool settings, childcare, and stay at home.

          Nonetheless, I think a comparison of Head Start with other subsidized preschool is still meaningful.  We are investing a lot of  money into Head Start.  If we can get comparable results for less, that's a good thing.   If it is not cost effective, then spend the money on other children's services and education that does a comparable job for less

          They did find some positive effects, but they weren't sustained.  That shows the programs may be working as intended early on, which the teachers and oarents can attest to, but they may need to be redesigned so the kids continue to benefit later.

          The trouble with those long-term followup studies you mention is the groups are not likely to be comparable on many important predictors of success, even after controlling for known and measured confounders.

          The US gov't spent a lot of money for the randomized followup study.  I'd hate to just see the findings ignored.  But I'd hate to see them merely used to justify slashing early childhood education in the name of budget balancing.  

          •  Your assumption is off base, I think (0+ / 0-)

            That Head Start costs more than those other programs. If anything, the problem is that we substantially underpay the teachers and other staff interacting with the kids. It is in fact very cost-effective and right in line with what the state programs can provide.

            It's worth asking what is the best way for us to spend and arrange this money, but the problem is that when these slots go away, those kids are just not going to be served.

            It's also worth asking if our measures in 3rd-5th grades are asking the right questions. Those grades are a place where we frequently see a retrenchment in ability; it's the transition where kids have to read to learn instead of learning to read. I cannot think of any interventions tested that show improvement in test scores at those grades, which is itself an interesting question.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 02:15:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  This was an interesting radio program (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        about Head Start effectiveness. You might enjoy it:

        http://www.kqed.org/...

        California communities are being forced to cut preschool enrollment and other services for poor children in the wake of cuts to the national Head Start program. We'll talk about the impact of the federal sequestration cuts on Head Start -- and we'll debate the effectiveness of the program. How well does Head Start prepare disadvantaged kids for kindergarten and beyond?

        Host: Dave Iverson

        Guests:
        Belia Gonzalez, parent of a five-year-old son in Santa Clara County Head Start and member of the executive committee of the Parent Council
        Lillian Mongeau, early education reporter for EdSource
        Rick Mockler, executive director of the California Head Start Association
        Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution and former director of the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education (appointed by President George W. Bush)

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:14:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was one of the original batch of kids (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IrishGreg, elfling

    that Head Start served in the early 60's.

    I spent 10 years after I graduated serving Head Start children, providing Speech Therapy for many.

    This saddens me more than words can say.

    Peace, Hope, Faith, Love

    by mapamp on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:37:06 AM PDT

  •  Anyone got a good reason for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo Flinnwood

    why repealing the sequester isn't a big, public priority for the Dems right now?

    Is that not "pragmatic"?

    Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

    by Boogalord on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:19:43 AM PDT

    •  Sequester And Obstruction Of Obama's Job (0+ / 0-)

      proposals. Should have been the message of the day for quite sometime. From the President and the Congress. People are disappointed with the sluggish recovery and blaming Obama. It is showing in the polls. I was hoping that after the 2012 election and the pressure put on the GOP during the fiscal cliff you would see an energized Democratic party frame the debate and control the narrative on the GOP slowing the economy all the way until victorious 2014 congressional elections. The DNC and DCCC have to know that they can't confine the kick ass rhetoric about the GOP to fundraising appeals. Have to see some examples of elected Democrats making the case and controlling the narrative in public discourse. It ain't happening.

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