Sequestration Cuts May Be Forcing Some Parents to Quit Their Jobs

This story, from Bloomberg’s William Selway, highlights a really important point about the cuts to Head Start caused by sequestration:

A U.S. preschool program for low-income families allowed single mother Kelly Burford to take a $7.25-an-hour job as a department store clerk in Maryland. Her son, Bradyn, 2, spent the day with friends listening to stories, singing and drawing pictures — at no cost to Burford.

That ended in June, when Bradyn’s school in Taneytown, seventy miles north of Washington, closed after losing $103,000 because of automatic government spending cuts. Without support from the federal Head Start program, Burford, 35, said she had to quit her job and has seen her son’s progress slip. (my emphasis)

I doubt this is the only low-income parent facing the same dilemma. The question is whether anyone is keeping track of this. It’s important that these “hidden” costs of sequestration are taken into account when assessing the impact.

This Is the Way It Should Work Everywhere

Education leaders in Biddeford, Maine have come up with a great idea (reported in the Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Courier): let’s take our early childhood education leaders and put them in charge of adult education as well.

If the people accountable for early childhood education were also in charge of our adult education system, I think we’d start to see adult literacy more thoughtfully integrated into school readiness strategies, as well as a stronger push for adult literacy outcomes that are more closely tied to the role that parents and other caregivers play in the literacy development of their children. (And the evidence continues to build that this is one of the key strategies we should be taking to address early literacy development.)

There are, of course, many great family literacy program models that do the kinds of things described here, but what appears to be unique and encouraging about this is that it’s a district-wide strategy.