Sequestration and Head Start
As of today, the series of automatic federal spending cuts referred to as the sequester take effect. Curry School of Education Dean of Education Robert Pianta and assistant education professor Daphna Bassok discussed sequestration’s likely effects on education and Head Start services.
According to the White House report, Virginia would lose approximately $14 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 190 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 14,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding. In addition, Virginia will lose approximately $13.9 million in funds for about 170 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,000 children in Virginia, reducing access to critical early education.
“Although the vast majority of education programs are funded by state sources, the federal government provides key sources of support for education and related services for low-income children and children with special needs,” Pianta said. “The sequester will hit the more vulnerable children, schools and communities hardest.”
Bassok added, “The automatic spending cuts would have devastating implications for low-income families by substantially reducing access to educational opportunities from preschool all the way to college.
“For instance, the sequester would mean about 70,000 slots would be eliminated from the Federal Head Start program, which provides comprehensive early childhood programs for low-income 3- to 5-year-olds. Families truly rely on these services for their children’s care, education and service provision, and it’s not clear where families who are denied spots will turn,” she said.
- Rebecca P. Arrington