Since 2002, Republican budgets have cut nearly 7,000 slots for children in low-income families to receive Head Start services. These cuts were made despite studies demonstrating that Head Start children are more likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to repeat a grade. Head Start students are also less likely to commit a crime than low-income children who do not attend Head Start. But such empirical findings mean little to a party that prefers its policies based on faith.
After slashing Head Start budgets, it seems only logical for Republicans to next target poor mothers with children under 6 years old. A recent Republican budget proposal would require these mothers to double their weekly work hours from 20 to 40 in order to remain eligible for job training and vocational education. Yet that plan fails to provide $10.5 billion for childcare funding that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would be needed for mothers to afford to work the longer hours and maintain their benefits. The blatant hypocrisy would be comical if it weren’t true.
As our children—unprepared for the challenges they’ll face—reach public schools, they will get less help than ever before. After taking credit for “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB), President Bush and his Republican allies wasted no time in underfunding the Act, thereby ensuring schools could not meet new, stricter achievement standards. As of June 2005, the House Republicans have shortchanged public schools by $40 billion since the passage of the much-lauded NCLB law. At the same time, yearly progress tests created by NCLB to determine if individual students are improving in math and reading show almost a quarter of schools failing to show improvement on state student tests.
If those weren’t enough obstacles to place in front of our children, the Republicans want to force the average student borrower to pay an additional $5,800 for college. The single most effective springboard to a well-paying job is a college degree. So, this year the Republicans are proposing $14.3 billion in cuts to federal student aid programs.
It is clear that children and young people are the biggest losers in the Republican raid of the Treasury. If you're a parent, or a kid, or someone who cares about kids, you should be pissed.