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Senators Murray And Hassan Push For New Child Care Assistance Bill In Senate

Bill would provide much-needed help for families struggling with rising child care costs

Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-3) introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act of 2017, which would more than double the number of families eligible for child care assistance. The bill comes on the heels of recent research from Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) showing child care has become unaffordable for working families in 49 states, plus the District of Columbia.

The Child Care for Working Families Act would create a federal-state partnership to ensure that families making less than 150 percent of their state’s median income do not pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. The bill also supports access to high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds. Finally, the bill would support the child care workforce by significantly improving wages and training for teachers and caregivers.

“At a time when far too many working families are struggling, finding quality child care that doesn’t break the bank shouldn’t be another thing keeping parents up at night,” said Senator Murray. “As a former preschool teacher, I know what quality early learning and care can do for a child’s development, so I’m proud to introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act to address our child care crisis and support access to high-quality preschool so that all children are ready for kindergarten and beyond. This is not only the right to thing to for working families, but it’s a smart investment in our children, our future, and our economy.”

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined with Senators Schumer (D-NY), Franken (D-MN), and Casey (D-PA), along with Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in co-sponsoring the bill.

“The high cost of child care is preventing too many people across New Hampshire and America from being able to participate in our workforce and thrive economically,” Senator Hassan said. “We must do more to ensure that all children have access to affordable, high quality child care that will help families make ends meet and prepare our young ones for their futures. The Child Care for Working Families Act takes critical steps to support hard-working families and invest in our children, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important legislation.”

“One month of child care costs more than one month of rent or a mortgage payment for many working families,” said Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America. “This bill would help families for whom quality child care is now an out-of-reach luxury. We urge Congress to pass this bill and provide a critical, long-term investment in the future of America. We must ensure better outcomes for children, a stronger workforce and families that are more resilient. Every child, in every family, deserves high-quality care.”

The Child Care for Working Families Bill would:

  • Establish a new federal-state partnership to provide high-quality, affordable child care from birth through age 13.
  • More than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance, and ensure all those who are eligible have the ability to enroll their child in a quality program.
  • Provide incentives and funding for states to create high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds during the school day, while providing a higher matching rate for programs for infants and toddlers, who are often harder and more expensive to care for.
  • Increase workforce training and compensation, including by ensuring that all child care workers are paid a living wage and early childhood educators are provided parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience.
  • Improve care in a variety of settings, including addressing the needs of family, friend, and neighbor care and care during non-traditional hours to help meet the needs of working families.
  • Build more inclusive, high-quality child care providers for children with disabilities, and infants and toddlers with disabilities, including by increasing funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Help all Head Start programs meet the new expanded duration requirements and provide full-day, full-year programming

More than 11 million children under the age of five are in some form of child care in the United States. As the nation’s leading voice for child care, CCAoA is comprised of 125,000 online advocates from across the country and more than 32,000 members. Over 250 parents have shared their stories with lawmakers through our Family Advocacy Summit and Day on The Hill. For child care providers, we offer trainings on emergency preparedness as well as technical assistance that emphasize health, nutrition and obesity prevention and more.

For 30 years, CCAoA has been the leading voice for quality, affordable child care in the United States. While CCAoA continues to pursue our vision of the future in which every family in the United States has access to a high quality and affordable child care system, the sharing of accurate and updated information remains critical.

Currently the bill has the support of over 100 organizations including: AFSCME, the SEIU, Mom’s Rising, and the National Association of Elementary School Principles.


Text of the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found HERE.
A fact sheet on the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found HERE.

Granite State Rumblings: Strengthening Head Start Programs

school-bus-thoseguys119-flikr-cc

Head Start School Bus (Image by THOSEGUYS119 FLIKR CC)

Head Start programs are undergoing major requirement revisions for the first time since 1975. Announced on September 1st the Obama administration’s proposals include expanding Head Start to a full day for everyone, raising professional development and curriculum standards, and beefing up services for children with disabilities or who still need to learn English.

“Today we’re unveiling some of the most significant improvements we’ve ever made to Head Start,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who herself attended the early childhood education program as a child in West Virginia. “The new standards strengthen educational practices and are based on the best research about how children learn and develop.”

Head Start, which targets low-income families, enrolls nearly 1 million children every year, and has served more than 33 million children since its inception in 1965. These new standards are the largest revision of the program since 1975 according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

One of the biggest changes included in the overhaul is the requirement that Head Start centers offer childcare for a full day over the course of a full school year, which will be phased in over the next five years. Currently Head Start preschool programs are required to operate at least 128 days a year and offer at least a 3.5 hour day. 

A second major focus of the new standards is to solidify the critical role of parents in the program, which has been a long-standing cornerstone of the Head Start program. 

The new Head Start Program Performance Standards are effective as of November 7, 2016. However, in order to afford grantees a reasonable period of time to implement certain provisions that have changed significantly from previous standards, the final rule allows programs additional time to comply with some specific provisions.

Here are some of the highlights of the new requirements from the Administration for Children and Families at HHS:

  • Education services which focus on effective teaching practices and key areas of child development, using stronger curriculum requirements and child assessment data, to ensure effective teaching in Head Start, so that children are academically and socially competent. 
  • Reduce bureaucratic burden on programs by cutting the current 1,400 Head Start regulatory standards by approximately 30 percent. This will improve regulatory clarity and transparency by eliminating unnecessary and duplicative rules while setting high standards that will drive program performance. This will allow programs to focus on outcomes over process and plans. 
  • Over time, programs will serve Head Start preschoolers for a full school day and a full school year, which is based on research and evidence that shows that students who spend more time in high quality early learning programs learn more and are better prepared for kindergarten. 
  • Programs will create a system of evidence-based, individualized professional development that builds teacher skills and core competencies which includes the use of targeted intensive mentoring and coaching. 
  • Produce higher returns on taxpayer investment. When children start school ready to succeed, they benefit and the entire nation benefits. High quality Head Start programs have demonstrated outcomes that are just as strong as, if not stronger than, the best public pre-k programs in the country. Research has shown that comprehensive services – physical and mental health and family engagement – are critical to promoting children’s school readiness and to reaping the economic return on investment in early childhood.

The release is especially timely, since the findings of two research reports published in August found long-term gains for Head Start graduates. For example, a study from the Hamilton Project says Head Start participation increased the probability that children would later graduate from high school and attend college. What’s more, there was evidence for social-emotional growth in such areas as self-control and self-esteem. You can download the full report from the website for The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative of the Brookings Institution. 


NHStepUp2016

Granite State Rumblings: Proposed Changes Would Propel Head-Start Program

When Congress reauthorized Head Start in 2007, it directed the agency to review and revise its performance standards. The comment period ends in mid-August, and it could be months before final regulations are issued. Among the most significant revisions on the table:

Length of Day and Year

Current: Head Start programs must operate 128 days during a school year, for a minimum of 3.5 hours each day

Proposed Change: Head Start programs would operate 180 days during a school year, for at least 6 hours each day.

Revised Regulations

Current: There are more than 1,400 program performance standards, some of which are redundant or overly prescriptive, according to Head Start.

Proposed Change: The streamlined proposed standards have been simplified and better organized.

Strengthening Education

Current: The document that outlines what young children should know and be able to do was last revised in 2010.

Proposed Change: The new document, called the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework Ages Birth to Five, is based on the latest research on child development.

Comprehensive Services

Current: Head Start distinguishes itself from other early-childhood programs through its focus on physical and mental health services and family engagement.

Proposed Change: Head Start plans to maintain this focus, with attention on streamlining and better coordination.

Professional Development

Current: Professional development relies on “intermittent workshops and conferences” that don’t have an effect on long-term practice, according to Head Start.

Proposed Change: Many teachers would receive intensive coaching in best practices.

Local Flexibility

Current: Head Start providers had limited ability to modify a program to meet local needs.

Proposed Change: The new rules would increase opportunities for Head Start grantees to modify policies if they can show those modifications work best for their communities.

Source: Office of Head Start, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Here is a blog piece from the current edition of Education Week.

Head Start Proposals Draw Cheers, Cautions
By
Christina A. Samuels

Early-childhood advocates are praising a proposed top-to-bottom revision of the rules governing Head Start, the federally-funded program that serves a million children from low-income families and pregnant women and children nationwide, even as they raise questions about whether the budget resources would be available to bring those plans to fruition.

Head Start officials see the proposal, which was seven years in the making, as a way to cut the bureaucratic burden that has developed over the program’s 50 years in existence. They also want to incorporate the latest knowledge about what best prepares children for academic success as well as social and emotional health.

But the changes—the most noteworthy of which calls for increasing the length of a Head Start operation’s day and the number of days it must operate per year—would come with a hefty $1 billion price tag. Currently, a Head Start program must operate for at least 3.5 hours a day and 128 days a year; the proposed changes would increase that to at least 6 hours a day and 180 days per year.

President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal would increase Head Start’s funding to cover both the school day and year changes and to pay for other Head Start initiatives. But, the spending increase is far from guaranteed.

Head Start is currently funded for about $8.6 billion. The president’s fiscal 2016 budget requests $10.1 billion for the program.

“Congress is not in an additional funding mood,” said Laura Bornfreund, a deputy director of the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative, based in Washington. “What if Congress doesn’t make that appropriation? Are they going to take [program expansion] out? Are they going to make that optional? Are they going to ask centers to try to figure that out?”

Long in Coming

The proposed revisions, which were mandated by Congress when it reauthorized Head Start in 2007, were released just a month after the program celebrated the anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the bill that created it as part of the War on Poverty.

By and large, the proposed changes appear to have met Head Start’s stated goals, say those who have examined the document outlining them, which was released June 18 and is open for a month of public comment.

“They have remodeled Head Start, but they’ve still done a good job of honoring the stuff that Head Start cares about—the work with families, the parent engagement, the comprehensive services. I think they did a really good job of strengthening the classroom experience for students,” said Joel Ryan, the executive director of a Head Start advocacy group for programs based in Washington state.

Ms. Bornfreund agreed that extending the length of the Head Start school day and year is “an important change to have in there, but definitely the funding and the support for programs is needed to make that shift well. Just adding a few more hours just doesn’t mean there’s going to be high-quality learning going on.”

Head Start officials say they are prepared to phase in some requirements if the rules are made final before the money to implement them is available. The final rule can end up with flexibility for Head Start providers to take a year to phase the other major requirements, such as extending the school year and day.

One element of Head Start that has not been touched is the requirement for low-performing grantees to compete for continued funding.

Department on Board

The funding question has not dimmed the enthusiasm from Head Start officials over the proposed revisions. In the proposed rules themselves, and in accompanying summaries and webinars aimed at providers, they acknowledged that the program had gotten too prescriptive, making it difficult for Head Start providers to focus on the issues that are most meaningful for children.

“We certainly know that some of you are saying, ‘It’s about time you got these out,’” Head Start Deputy Director Ann Linehan said in an webinar for Head Start grantees to announce the proposed rules.

“In this case, procrastination served us well, because it gave us time to really read all the results of the research,” she said. “This set of proposed rules really reflects the best.”

Along with the proposed rules changes, Head Start also revised a document that explains what children should know and be able to do from birth to 5 years old. What is now called the “Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework” was last revised in 2010, and only focused on children ages 3-5.

In an interview with Education Week, Head Start Director Blanca Enriquez said this new document will help programs align their curricula so that they’re best preparing children for school. And, unlike the other proposed changes, the framework does not have to go through a public comment process.

‘Supergrantees’

Another less-noticed change has to do with the authority so-called “supergrantees” have to manage their “delegate agencies.” Some large agencies, such as the Los Angeles County Office of Education or the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, contract with smaller agencies that actually provide the direct services to children.

Currently, if a grantee moves to terminate a contract with a delegate agency, Head Start rules require a number of different steps and appeals processes that involve federal officials. The proposed rules would cut the federal government’s role in that element of delegate management.

Noting another change that has flown under the radar, Monica Ortiz, the executive director of the Maryland Head Start Association, noted that the proposal would eliminate a requirement that Head Start programs have parent committees. There are other committees that have parent involvement, such as policy councils, but Ms. Ortiz said the new rules would need to ensure that a broad cross-section of parents still have an opportunity to be involved in the program.

“How do you ensure your policy council is fully representative of the full group of your parents?” she asked.

But the proposed changes to the lengths of the Head Start day and school year have garnered the most attention among grantees. Early educators refer to the length of time children spend in the classroom as “dosage,” and officials said that Head Start’s current minimums are just too low for the high-needs population that Head Start serves—especially considering that Head Start also provides other services, such as health and developmental screenings.

“If we really want our teachers to focus on the comprehensive services, they really need a full day,” said Ms. Enriquez, the director of Head Start.

However, the proposal raises multiple questions about how grantees will find space and staffing to carry out this work. Currently, only 57 percent of Head Start preschoolers receive services for 6 hours or more a day, and only 31 percent receive services for 180 or more days.

While some parents might welcome a longer day, Mr. Ryan, with the Washington State Head Start Association, said he was not sure if a longer day should be mandated for all programs. Other changes could also increase preschool quality, he said, such as reducing student-teacher ratios. The proposal would maintain the current ratio of one teacher and one teacher-assistant for 20 children ages 4-5. For 3-year-olds, the ratio would remain, as it is now, 17 children to one teacher and one teaching assistant.

“The teachers I work with will pretty consistently say … they’d be happy to put more money into increasing the dosage, but the first thing they’d do is decrease the class size,” Mr. Ryan said.

GROWING UP GRANITE

From our friends at NH Voices for Health, is this regarding the Supreme Court’s decision last week in King v. Burwell:

Today, millions of people can breathe a huge sigh of relief. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that in states with federally-facilitated marketplaces, like New Hampshire, consumers are eligible for tax credits to help them pay for their health insurance premiums. More than nine million Americans rely on these tax credits, including over 45,000 New Hampshire consumers, in order to be able to afford the cost of insurance.

“We are pleased at the outcome of today’s Supreme Court ruling, which preserves the ability for New Hampshire residents to access affordable coverage,” said Tom Bunnell, policy consultant for NH Voices for Health. “The justices followed well-established legal doctrine in concluding that subsidies are available in states that have federally-facilitated Marketplaces.”

“In addition, the ruling ensures that New Hampshire can move forward with its unique and innovative version of Medicaid Expansion, and transition the NH Health Protection Program enrollees to the private Marketplace in January of 2016,” Bunnell said.

For Granite Staters with plans on the Marketplace, the 2016 Open Enrollment period begins November 1, 2015. Five insurance carriers will offer a record 81 health plans – up from 60 plans in 2015.

Today’s decision is a win for all New Hampshire residents who can continue to rely on New Hampshire’s stable and increasingly competitive private insurance market for high quality, low cost, accessible health care. Thank you for all you do to continue making access to affordable care here

in New Hampshire possible.

Granite State Rumblings: Making The Case for Expanding Head Start Programs 

Image by U.S. Department of Education

Image by U.S. Department of Education


Over the past few months I have been in at least three different venues across the state where the topic of Head

Start has come up. In each of those conversations at least one person has said that Head Start does not work and Congress should do away with it.  They did not say we should fix what they perceive to be wrong with Head Start, just do away with it.

I have to admit I left those places shaking my head and wondering if the people who feel so strongly about doing away with Head Start have spent time in the classrooms with the children, teachers, and parents. If they had they would have seen that every day Head Start programs help children to catch up cognitively, socially, and emotionally with their peers who are higher up on the economic ladder, encourages and celebrates parents as their child’s first teachers, help pregnant women receive the services they need in order to give birth to healthy babies, and puts smiles on the faces and hope in the hearts of children and their families.

Young children living in poverty are more likely to face challenges that can negatively impact their development and create disparities in their cognitive and social abilities well before they enter Head Start or pre-school programs at age 4. In an effort to ensure that all young children have the same opportunities to succeed in school and life, the federal Early Head Start program was created to support the healthy development of low-income infants, toddlers, and pregnant women.

Research shows that Early Head Start makes a positive difference in areas associated with children’s success in school, family self-sufficiency, and parental support of child development, but federal funds are reaching fewer than 4% of eligible children and families. Children who participated in Early Head Start had significantly larger vocabularies and scored higher on standardized measures of cognitive development than children in a control group who did not participate in Early Head Start. Additionally, Early Head Start children and parents had more positive interactions, and these parents provided more support for learning than did those in a control group. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Making a Difference in the Lives of Infants and Toddlers and Their Families).

In addition to early learning opportunities, Head Start and Early Head Start’s comprehensive early childhood development programs provide children and families with access to a range of services such as health screenings, referrals and follow-up support, parenting resources, and social services. Programs emphasize the importance of parental involvement and staff work to cultivate parents’ abilities as their children’s first teachers.

So you may ask, if Head Start and Early Head Start provides all of this for children and their families, why do some people want to get rid of it? 

The answer to that may come down to this word: fadeout.

Our friends at The First Five Years Fund have this to say about the Head Start Fadeout Myth.

Head Start Fadeout, a common argument against investing in early childhood education, is based on a highly selective read of research findings found in Head Start evaluations and, to a lesser extent, the Perry Preschool project.

Critics argue that gains made through early childhood education disappear by the third grade. They acknowledge that disadvantaged children who received early education arrive at kindergarten ahead of peers who did not, but use third grade evaluations to claim there is no lasting effect to justify the investment.

A measurement of progress in the third grade is not a measurement of life outcomes. It’s simply a snapshot in time—and an incomplete one at that.

Research from many studies—including those cited by fadeout critics—overwhelmingly show that the benefits of early childhood education become more evident throughout schooling and adult life. There is no fadeout; there is constant, steady movement into upward mobility.

Disadvantaged children who receive quality early childhood education are more likely to persist in school, enjoy better career outcomes, higher wages and healthier lifestyles. These findings can be found in analysis of the Perry Preschool Project and Abecedarian in the United States, as well as the British Cohort Study in Great Britain, all of which are randomized control studies with longitudinal data that spans upwards of 35 years.

We’ll take 35 years of evidence over three any time.

The fadeout myth comes from an incomplete read of data and a narrow view of what constitutes success.

For example, the Perry Preschool Project has been criticized for not permanently increasing IQ among the treatment group. IQ gains that are evident at kindergarten among the treatment group tend to equalize with the control group during schooling years.

However, IQ is not the only measure of success in an individual. Nobel Laureate Economist James Heckman found that the social and emotional skills learned through early childhood education were the major drivers of success in school, career and life among the Perry treatment group, who far outperform the control group in adult outcomes.

Similarly, the 2012 National Head Start Impact Study shows achievement among the treatment group equalizing with the control group by third grade. In this case, the Impact Study was flawed because many in the control group were allowed to attend other preschool programs, including Head Start programs in other locations. We may be seeing parity here because we’re comparing children with similar experiences.

Heckman says that using the Head Start Impact Study to claim that early childhood education is ineffective is “a generalized conclusion that is neither thoughtful nor accurate.” (Read more of his analysis here.) Heckman also finds that “Head Start graduates tend to be more persistent in their education, more inclined to healthy behaviors, and less inclined to be involved in criminal activity.”

“Head Start is by no means perfect, but that should not rule out efforts to improve the program’s quality and surround it with other high-quality birth-to-five programs that will deliver better outcomes for children, families and society.” – James Heckman


In May of 1965, President Lyndon Johnson announced Project Head Start. Head Start was part of Johnson’s War on Poverty, which embodied a basic belief that education was the solution to poverty.

It began as an 8 week demonstration project.

In 1977, under the Carter administration, Head Start began bilingual and bicultural programs in about 21 states. Eighteen years later, in1995 under the Clinton administration, the first Early Head Start grants were given to provide high quality child development and family services to income eligible pregnant women and families of very young children.

Head Start was most recently reauthorized again in 2007, under the George W. Bush administration, with several provisions to strengthen Head Start quality.  The statute also included a provision that regulations be promulgated to move programs from an indefinite project period to a five-year grant cycle. In 2009, under the Obama administration, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act added more than 64,000 slots for Early Head Start and Head Start programs.

Sequestration had a major impact on Head Start in 2013. The Office of Head Start reported that approximately 57,000 children were cut from Head Start programs nationwide because of sequestration. In addition to turning away those 57,000 children, Head Start programs were forced to

  • Cut 1.3 million days of service
  • Provide 18,000 fewer hours of service through shortened school days
  • Terminate or reduce salaries of 18,000 employees

In January of 2014 President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. This Act included $8,598,095,000 for programs under the Head Start Act, representing an increase of approximately $1.025 billion over the fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding level.

The approximately $1.025 billion increase restored the 5.27 percent reduction from sequestration and provided all grantees with a 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The FY 2014 funding level also included $500 million for expansion through the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership to support communities in expanding high-quality early learning and development opportunities for infants and toddlers.

State funding for Head Start was eliminated by the NH Legislature in the 2010.

In recent years, Head Start has served as a successful, comprehensive model for states in developing high quality pre-kindergarten systems. Additionally, Head Start’s unique shared governance structure provides a model to promote meaningful partnerships with families. Each program has a Policy Council that includes parents of children in the program and makes policy decisions together with staff.

Most children in New Hampshire Head Start programs attend 5 days a week for part of the day. Children and families receive an array of comprehensive supports and services. The top two services families receive are parenting and health education.

Pregnant women also receive a variety of supports and services. Included are coordination of prenatal and postpartum health care, dental and mental health services and follow up (substance abuse prevention and treatment), prenatal education on fetal development, information on the benefits of breastfeeding, emergency/crisis intervention, and others.

In New Hampshire, Head Start grew from 1,267 enrolled children in 1997 to more than 2,000 children (cumulative) enrolled today. New Hampshire is funded to serve 1,618 children and their families at any given time, but actual enrollment can be higher. However, far too many eligible children are not served due to lack of funding:

  • Nationally, it is estimated that Head Start serves less than 43% of eligible children and their families, and Early Head Start serves less than 4% of eligible infants and toddlers. 
  • New Hampshire Head Start serves only about 18% of eligible children aged birth to five years and their families.

Here is some more NH specific information from the 2013-2014 Program Information Report (PIR):

  • Cumulative Enrollment of Children by Age – Total 2,027    
    • Less than 1 Year Old – 139
    • 1 Year Old – 161
    • 2 Years Old – 185
    • 3 Years Old – 693
    • 4 Years Old – 849
  • Total Classes Operated – 87
  • Homeless Children Served – 175
  • Foster Care Children Served – 38
  • Child Welfare Agency Referral Children Served – 52
  • Number of Programs Providing Transportation – 2
  • Children with Health Insurance (at end of enrollment year) – 1,995
  • Children without Health Insurance (at end of enrollment year) – 32
  • Total Number of Families – 1,868
    • Two Parent Families – 795
    • Single Parent Families – 1,073

Recent research has shown what the Head Start community has long observed: Head Start works! Not only does it promote gains in children’s learning and development, Head Start also is associated with improved children’s health, promotes family self-sufficiency, and is cost effective.

Has Head Start had an impact on your life?  We would love to hear your story to share with others.

Frank Guinta’s New Ad A Desperate Attempt to Fool Granite State Women Voters

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

Deceptive Ad at Odds with Guinta’s Anti-Woman Agenda

Manchester, NH —Frank Guinta’s new ad distorts his disastrous record on women’s health and economic priorities in an attempt to reverse his poor polling performance among New Hampshire women.

“Frank Guinta’s new ad is a desperate attempt to reverse his miserable polling numbers with women and cover up his record in Congress of voting against women’s health priorities, women’s safety against domestic violence, and a woman’s right to choose, even in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is in danger,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. “Guinta’s sudden claim to care about fair pay and childcare is laughable in the face of his anti-woman, Tea Party voting record, and New Hampshire women and families will not be fooled.”

In the ad, Guinta claims—without citation—to support fair pay and childcare. In fact, Guinta skipped the 112th Congress’s single vote on fair pay and never supported a single policy or bill to address the wage gap. In addition, he voted for the destructive sequester cuts that took away childcare options for New Hampshire families and closed Newmarket’s Head Start program.

Background

In 2012, Guinta Skipped Vote on Fair Pay (H.Res. 667)
“ … to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.” (roll call 5/31/12, amendment to H.Res. 667)

Sequestration Cuts Guinta Voted for Caused Closure of Newmarket Head Start Program
“The closing of Newmarket’s nearly 20-year-old Head Start Program in June — caused by the federal sequestration — has forced the parents of more than a dozen children to either drive to a nearby community for the program or to just stay home.” (roll call on S. 365, Foster’s 7/13/13)

Corporations Are Stealing From Hard Working Americans

Cut Tax Breaks

If you do not agree that corporations are stealing from Americans then you do not understand our current tax structure.

It is a well known fact that there are many multi-billion dollar corporations that do not pay any taxes to the federal government. They use the current tax codes to write off everything from shipping jobs overseas to corporate jets.  These tax breaks end up taking away from the revenue that the federal government should be collecting.  It is no wonder why corporate giants like the Koch brothers are so heavily involved in politics, they are protecting their tax breaks.

When you combine these tax breaks with the austerity cuts being pushed by the GOP in Washington we end up in a very depressed economy.  The federal government is now in a position that they must cut social programs like meals on wheels and head start to allow corporations to deduct the cost of their corporate jets.  Am I alone in thinking this is appalling?

Watch this amazing video explanation from AFSCME on how these corporate tax breaks are continuing to hurt our economy and our government.

Sequester Gives Kids A Kick To The Head Start

Head StartOnce again Congress is attacking the poor working families.  These are the families that rely on programs like Head Start to get their children started in education the right way.  Time and time again is has been proven in studies like this one from the US Dept of Health and Human Services, that head start programs help children excel in school.  These types of programs have an even bigger impact on the low-income communities, who who otherwise not be able to send their children to a pre-school class.

The gains of pre-school education have been seen by everyone all the way up to the White House.  This is why President Obama pushed for an expanded pre-school program in his State of the Union address.

“Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.  But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.  Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool.  And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives.

Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.”

If Head Start is so good then why is Hudson Head Start forcing more kids out of the program. You can thank the Tea Party Republicans who forced us into the Sequester.

The Sequester is the government debt reduction plan, that slashes 5% of funding for every line item in the budget.   The Sequester was a bad idea when it was proposed, and everyone knew it.  Nobody including the President every thought Congress would let the sequester actually happen.  The sequester was ment to be something so bad that both sides would actually work together to ensure that it never went into effect.  That was the plan, and the plan was and #EpicFail.

New Hampshire may be one of the smallest users of head start, but that does not mean it is not being effected.  Due to sequester cuts NH will loose $733,000 in head start funding.  These cuts are forcing the closure of two classrooms by Southern New Hampshire Service who oversees the program in parts of Southern NH.  They will be shutting the door to 9-11 employees and forcing 18 children to find another head start school (if they can) to attend.

This may seem like a minor inconvenience for a few people and a few of the families in Hudson.  But this is Husdon, NH.  They have less that 25,000 people in the town, and this is what they are doing to their Head Start program.  Can you only imagine what that will mean for bigger school districts, and communities with much higher levels of poverty than Hudson?

Across the country these ridiculously stupid sequester cuts will slam the door of economic and educational opportunity for more than 70,000 children.  Head Start is specifically targeted to those families who could not otherwise afford to send their child to a pre-school program.  Once again, Congress is balancing the budget on the backs of working families.  They are taking away the programs that are designed to lift low-income families out of poverty.

Tell Congress you will not stand for this any longer.  Tell Congress they must end the sequester cuts now.  We have seen over the last few weeks how fast Congress can act when they actually want to pass legislation.  They need to act like that now! They need to work together to save programs like Head Start and the hundreds of other programs being slashed by the sequester cuts.

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