We already knew that the sequester would cut off 70,000 children nationwide to Head Start access, and subsequently cause the layoff of 14,000 Head Start personnel. (One of whom is my mother, incidentally; she works at Head Start in Trenton, and she is NOT psyched about what's going on.)
But the personalization of individual kids who lost access to Head Start, primarily the preschool children of low-income families, is more heartbreaking than those statistics show. In Indiana, the sequestration has forced two towns to implement a lottery system to make 1,000 cuts at random out of the 15,400 kids in Head Start statewide.
From Indiana's Daily Kos:
Columbus resident Alice Miller told WTHR-TV that her 4-year-old son, Sage, was one of the children cut from the program. She spoke about how the program has helped her son advance academically and socially.
"He can say his ABCs. He's counting to 100. He writes his name. I'm very proud of him," she said.
Miller said she was "heartbroken" when his name was not chosen at the lottery.
"He loves school," Miller said. "I don't know how I'm going to tell him he's not going back."
Head Start also provides free home visits, child care, behavioral and health screenings and family support to children living in poverty. Meanwhile, other communities in the country are protesting the cuts outside their local congressman's office, as in Grand Junction, Colorado.