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Those Head Start cuts: The problem is?

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

Save the wailing and gnashing of teeth over sequestration cuts affecting Head Start, a federal program that the federal government, itself, repeatedly has found to be a failure and deserves to be eliminated entirely.

USA Today reports the latest federal estimates say sequestration cuts will mean about 57,000 fewer slots total this fall in Head Start, the preschool program for low-income children ages 3 to 5, and Early Head Start, which focuses on families with infants and pregnant women. Also, more than 18,000 Head Start workers will face layoffs or smaller paychecks.

Among those lamenting the cuts is Cheryl Miller, executive director of the Indiana Head Start Association, who told USA Today, “For all of us, as a nation, this should be heartbreaking.”

On the contrary, what's truly heartbreaking is that it took sequestration to chip away, even a little, at the $8 billion Washington squanders annually on Head Start, even after a Department of Health and Human Services evaluation last year found — similar to evaluations in 1969, 1985 and 2005 — no discernible difference by third grade between Head Start children and their non-Head Start peers.

Equally heartbreaking is that low-income families continue to be cruelly misled, expecting real benefits that Head Start can't deliver.

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