The future of Head Start in Oklahoma

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Reported by: MirandaChristian
Updated: 2/19/2013 11:22 am Published: 2/18/2013 9:33 pm

Programs to help the youngest children are on the chopping block.

The US Education Secretary is warning 70,000 children could be kicked out of Head Start, the federal preschool program for low-income children and families.

Our state stands out, according to President Obama. The attention paid to our kids before kindergarten serves as a national model.

“There are projected cuts to the federal funding for head start," said Community Action Project Executive Director, Steve Dow.

Those cuts could stretch beyond Oklahoma's borders. Dow said that could hurt millions of families, and damage the future of our children.

"You get out what you put in. it’s plain and simple," said Herlonda Hamilton.

Hamilton depended on help from Head Start for her children.

"Everyone's parents are not able to send them to private daycare or private Head Start," said Hamilton.

President Obama wants to put together a new federal-state partnership that would provide low-income children with high-quality education, but it'll cost according to some reports, as much as $25 billion.

Here's another concern: automatic spending reductions scheduled to go into effect next month would cut over $400 million from Head Start.

"The program in Tulsa is very safe and secure and on stable grounds financially,"

Dow said prudent planning allowed CAP to set aside funds to ensure every teacher. And all 2,200 students in Tulsa’s program will remain in the program.

"What we do know is what happens when we don't offer high quality early education,” said Dow.

"Once they fall behind that just continues. When you talk about middle school or high school they begin to drop out," said Hamilton.

Tulsa’s Head Start program depends heavily on state dollars, as well as donations.

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