Call Your Senators to Stop Cuts to Head Start and Other Early Learning Programs
Last week, the House of Representatives passed its version of the FY2011 federal budget, 235-189. This bill slashes funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance are significantly cut. If enacted, these cuts will be devastating:
- 218,000 low-income children will lose Head Start/Early Head Start services -- for state-by-state numbers, see CLASP's fact sheet.
- 16,000 Head Start/Early Head Start classrooms will close
- 55,000 Head Start/Early Head Start teachers and staff will lose their jobs
- 150,000 low-income children and their families will lose assistance in paying for child care
It is critical that the Senate push back against these cuts, and your call WILL make a difference! TAKE ACTION: Call Senate offices in support of Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Specific steps:
1. Use our online form (http://www.capwiz.com/results/callalert/index.tt?alertid=30607501) to look up your senators' phone numbers, or just call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
2. Ask for the aide who handles early childhood development programs -- specifically Head Start and child care
3. Tell them (in person or in voicemail) that you are a constituent (and anything about why you care about these programs) and:
- Urge them to protect funding for child care, Head Start, and Early Head Start to help us build a smarter, healthier, and stronger America.
- Specifically, ask that they work to sustain funding for Head Start/Early Head Start and child care so that 368,000 children do not lose these valuable supports, as proposed by the House.
4. Thank them for listening, and then call back and speak to your other senator's staff.
Can’t call or get to your senator face-to-face? Use our early childhood e-mail action alert to send a message instead.
MORE BACKGROUND: In the House bill passed last week, Head Start and Early Head Start will see a $1.083 billion cut plus an additional $1 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding not renewed, for a total cut of over $2 billion over current levels. The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is cut by $39 million plus an additional $1 billion in lost ARRA money, for over $1 billion in cuts. Other critical safety net programs are also cut, including deep cuts to Community Health Centers. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) estimates 11 million patients will lose services over the next year with the deep cuts in H.R.1. And, the bill slashes foreign assistance programs including the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The House vote was along party lines. All but three Republicans voted in favor of H.R.1; all Democrats voted against it. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it faces a significant uphill battle. Senate leadership in both parties have indicated that they will not pass H.R.1 as is. However, we cannot assume that they will restore funding to these important programs. Without a strong push from the grassroots, the Senate could very well preserve all or part of these cuts.
Congress must pass the FY2011 budget (or another temporary extension) by March 4 or face a government shutdown, i.e. there will be a lot of pressure on the Senate and House to finish the budget quickly.
STRATEGIC ACTIONS TO PROTECT VITAL SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES: It's critical to show a broad level of support for investments in Head Start and child care, so make sure you call and get others to do the same. In addition, request face-to-face lobby meetings and look for public appearances for your members of Congress while they're are back home this week. Some resources to help you make a deeper impact:
- RESULTS' Early Childhood Laser Talk -- adapt this for handwritten letters, conference calls with key Senate staff, or in your face-to-face meetings with legislators.
- State-by-state data on the H.R.1 cuts to Head Start from CLASP
- State-by-state data on what is needed to maintain current Head Start and child care services from CLASP
- Head Start stories and testimonials at www.ourheadstart.org.
*** For more information about RESULTS and how you can make a difference, including our work in communities across the country to create the political will to end poverty, please visit our website: www.results.org.