The Senate Appropriations Panel recently approved a $1.6 billion increase for Head Start—the main federal program financing early-childhood education—plus $750 million in new money to help states bolster the quality of their preschool programs. But that’s just the first step in a long path that may lead nowhere.
The increase is good news for the president and educators, but the funding, which should come from an increase on tobacco taxes, doesn’t actually exist yet. What you have here is basically window dressing and fond wishes backed up by nothing. We desperately need to improve early childhood education, which the president wants, but there seems to be little chance that the funding will actually materialize. This first step is good, but ultimately, the funding must be found and then the full Senate must vote and approve the package and then the Republican-controlled House must also approve it, which is highly unlikely as all they like to fund is bombs and tanks.
Add the ongoing issue with the sequester, which the morons in Congress still haven’t fixed and you have yet another example of business as usual in Washington. The young children of the Washington elite will get the best education money can buy while the rest of the country sits and watches (and likely pays for it). Study after study has shown the extreme need for early childhood education and how much it improves the long-term prospects for students, especially poor and minority ones, and yet we still can’t seem to fund it properly. Given the chance, it’s highly likely Democrats would pass some sort of package to improve this critical segment of education funding. Also given the chance, it’s highly likely that Republicans would not do so. In fact, they would likely cut education funding unless it benefited them, their wealthy backers or certain large companies, in some way.
Once again, it becomes clear that when next we get the chance, we MUST unseat the GOP in the House and bolster Democrats in the Senate until we have a majority in both houses that will help the neediest and improve our educational system long before we waste another dollar on weapons and domestic spying.
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Image courtesy of schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com.