Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speak up for Head Start!

Last week, as part of Leadership Rhode Island's Education/Labor Day, the Eta II class spent the morning at Children's Friend's Cianci Center. Julie Casmiro of Children's Friend blogged about our visit, and I wanted to mention it here to ask for your help to support ongoing funding of Head Start Programs.

Children's Friend provides high-quality childcare to 1,100 children with federal funds provided by Head Start and Early Head Start, which are being threatened by budget cuts passed by the United States House of Representatives. The House budget reduces the Head Start program funding by 15 percent, which would impact 180 children and families and close 10 classrooms. This is bad for these families immediately; most will not have other options for high quality childcare. And it's bad for the long-term future of the children who would be denied services; the correlation between high quality, school-readying childcare and later success in schools are indisputable.

If you want more detail on the current status of the legislation, here's a useful update from the National Head Start Association.

Please contact members of Rhode Island's Congressional delegation to ask them to support full funding of Head Start. You can send an email from this page, or (better yet!) call our Senators and Representatives' offices to share your concerns. Contact info is below. Take five minutes and do this today.

The Honorable Jack Reed
United States Senator
1000 Chapel View Blvd., Suite 290
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: 401-943-3100
Fax: 401-464-6837
Email: click here

The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator
170 Westminster Street, Suite 1100
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-453-5294
Fax: 401-453-5085
Email: click here

The Honorable David N. Cicilline
United States Representative
249 Roosevelt Avenue, Suite 200
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Phone: 401-729-5600
Fax: 401-729-5608

The Honorable James R. Langevin
United States Representative
300 Centerville Road, Suite 200 South
Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: 401-732-9400
Fax: 401-737-2982

Many thanks for the Cianci Center for welcoming us so warmly and for the information that Children's Friend President and Chief Executive Officer, David Caprio, Head Start Director Aimee Mitchell, and Elizabeth Burke Bryant of Rhode Island Kids Count shared with us about the ways high quality early childhood education is on the shortest of short lists of investments we need to make in our state for the present and future benefit of families, children's educational futures, and our economy. Most of all, I am grateful for the time we spent in the Cianci Center's classrooms, meeting kids and learning from their teachers.

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