President Bush signed bipartisan legislation in December reauthorizing the Head Start program. But even as they praised the program, Congress funded the program at $480 million below its authorized level. Then President Bush in early February proposed a budget that would reduce funding even further below what the Congress authorized. It would mean the number of children who would be served in Head Start would fall to 895,000 in 2009, with deeper cuts in the future. That is at a time when the number of children eligible for Head Start grew by 13 percent between 2002 and 2006. Head Start will have no choice but to turn away children who need this support the most.
The President’s 2009 budget proposes to fund Head Start at $7 billion, just a hair under what is needed to maintain 2008 funding levels adjusted for inflation, and about 12 percent below the 2002 funding level adjusted for inflation.
The reality is that for every $1 that Head Start received in 2002, it will receive just 89 cents in 2008. President Bush is not supporting the Head Start program. He is starving it, and leaving children behind in the process.
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