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Posts Tagged ‘Head Start’

While taking a little “What you can get for your money” house tour the other day, the one that stood out, for its square footage and general charm, sat directly across the street from one of the country’s oldest Head Start programs in TN. Situated in a Gothic castle-like structure, parents and buses were pulling in to pick up their children. And my first thought was, how can it be that we still need this program in our great country?

Poverty stats were simultaneously published by the Census Bureau. It seems we have the highest number of people living below the poverty line since 1993 – 15.1%. According to The New York Times: “Minorities were hit hardest. Blacks experienced the highest poverty rate, at 27 percent, up from 25 percent in 2009, and Hispanics rose to 26 percent from 25 percent. For whites, 9.9 percent lived in poverty, up from 9.4 percent in 2009. Asians were unchanged at 12.1 percent. ” With more budget cuts looming in local, state and federal budgets, I’m afraid our numbers will only get worse. Teachers and social programs will be the first to feel the chill of our deepening recession.

While teaching in a Jersey City Head Start program in the early 70’s, I took my children on a field trip. We walked around the neighborhood one day. There was an abandoned, burnt-out building sitting in the middle of a weed-filled block with a rusty old dump truck. It was a distorted page from a Richard Scarry children’s book. A tiny 4 year old asked me what was going to happen there, and later I told my class there would probably be a beautiful park there one day. I described the future playground. My aide said the city would just put a fence around it.

We can’t give up on our children. That’s not what Americans do.

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