|For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2011
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U.S. House bill moves the future for children, families, and the nation in the wrong direction: NAEYC urges opposition to H.R. 1
(Washington) – H.R. 1, the legislation being brought forward this week on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, is an extreme, irresponsible approach to the federal deficit and risks our economic and educational competitiveness now and in the future.
H.R. 1 proposes harsh cuts to Head Start which has had bipartisan support, including President Ronald Reagan who expanded funding, and has been shown to help the nation’s poorest children get ready for school. This would mean that 218,000 children would lose the Head Start program. Child care cuts would mean 150,000 children lose the assistance their families need to work and that they need to be prepared for school. It would also make drastic cuts to K-12 education, special education, higher education financial aid, and nutrition assistance to young children.
Noted Nobel Laureate in economics, James Heckman, wrote just a few months ago to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Reform that cutting funds to early childhood is the wrong direction and that we need more investments in high-quality early childhood education, not less, if we are to reduce our deficit.
“H.R. 1 should be rejected outright and Congress should take a different approach that deals with deficits and investments in a reasoned way,” said Jerlean Daniel, Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). “The goals of helping families get and keep jobs, closing the achievement gap, and helping children develop the skills they will need for success in the 21st century workplace will be set back enormously if these cuts are adopted.”
America’s prosperity and ability to meet our individual and collective potential rests on fiscally responsible decisions, including investments in early childhood, education, and other supports to struggling families. Over the past years, NAEYC has worked with Congress to improve the quality and affordability of early childhood education. We should not reverse the investments in those efforts—for our children’s sake, and for the sake of our short- and long-term national economic security.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest and most influential advocate for high-quality early care and education in the United States.