How Will Head Start Thrive in Today’s Polarized Times?

Contemplating the state of Head Start in the House of Representatives during the 116th Congress

Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA) takes the floor to speak in support of Head Start.

We are six months into the 116th Congress. How has Head Start fared so far in the United States House of Representatives?

July marks six months since the 116th Congress first convened in Washington D.C. As we look back on these first six months, this month offers a prime opportunity to reflect on the admirable work and strong bipartisan support shown towards Head Start by both new and returning members of Congress.

Members of the Head Start community meet with Congresswoman Deb Fischer (R-NE) during the National Head Start Association’s Leadership Insitute.
For her continued support of Head Start, the National Head Start Association awarded Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA) the PROMISE (Protecting Our Most Important Students Early) Award.

For a look at who’s said what, continue reading below:

Who’s been hitting the road to see Head Start’s magic in person?

In the months leading up to the House’s passage of the appropriations bill, multiple members including, Steve Chabot (R-OH), Barbra Lee (D-CA), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) made trips to local Head Start centers in their communities. During these trips, local community Head Start leaders had the opportunity to share with their representatives about what Head Start means for their children, families, and community as a whole.

Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) visited his local Head Start program at the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency.

I believe it is very important to the parents of students to know they have local leadership that is community-based. These local leaders know more about what the needs of our students are.

Host your own member for a visit! Check out NHSA’s program visit How-To-Guide to get started.

Who else is a vocal Head Start champion?

In addition to visits to local Head Start programs, numerous members made floor speeches applauding and advocating for Head Start. Among them, Susan Wild (D-PA) made her mark in the freshman class, saying:

“Despite its record of success, Head Start is severely underfunded today. In my home state of Pennsylvania, only 27 percent of eligible children are able to get a slot in a Head Start program. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in pledging to fight to get increased funding for Head Start signed into law so that we renew our commitment to its promise of a future where every child in every ZIP Code can live a life of opportunity.”

Congresswoman Wild represents communities in Pennsylvania that are working around the clock to combat the opioid epidemic, including families and Head Start programs that have made remarkable strides towards supporting those in reaching the point of recovery. Last year was the first year in the last five years that the Lehigh Valley has seen a decrease in drug-related deaths, but Congresswoman Wild knows that there is more we can be doing to address addiction in a family context and that Head Start is a critical part of that equation.

Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) visited his local Head Start center in Dover.

Did your members of Congress make the list?

Make sure the people representing you are a part of Head Start’s future successes by joining the Families Unite campaign.

Click here to sign up and find out about the nationwide campaign!

NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life.

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