WASHINGTON -- Head Start, the federal pre-K education service for low-income families, has eliminated services for more than 57,000 children in the coming school year as a result of the federal budget reductions known as sequestration.
The cuts include a shorter school year and shorter school days, as well as laying off or reducing the pay for more than 18,000 employees nationwide. Others eliminated medical and dental screenings and bus routes.
All told, 57,265 children (nearly 6,000 of whom attend Early Head Start) saw their services eliminated, according to data provided to The Huffington Post by HHS. The state to take the biggest hit was California, where 5,611 Head Start kids were denied a spot in the program. In Texas, that number was 4,410. In New York it was 3,847. But underscoring just how widespread the effects of sequestration have been felt, even smaller states were impacted. In North Dakota, Head Start eliminated 194 slots in its program. In Rhode Island, it cut 450 positions. Even in far-flung Hawaii, 72 Head Starts slots were slashed.
Head Start is best known for providing preschool to low-income students, but it supplies many of its 960,000 children with two hot meals a day, transportation to and from school and basic medical care. When these services are eliminated, it also affects parents, who often must find difficult-to-afford day care services or take off days of work to tend to their children. HHS data says that Head Start will have administered 1,342,015 fewer days of service nationwide because of sequestration cuts.
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And yet it seems that the poor will be paying for the mess...