Automatic federal-spending cuts set to take effect next year could remove tens of thousands of low-income children from Head Start programs nationwide, The New York Times reports.
The automatic reductions, known as sequestration, would slice an estimated $590-million from the $7.9-billion budget for the 47-year-old early-learning program. The looming cuts have sharpened debate over the effectiveness of Head Start in preparing needy children for school.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned a Senate subcommittee Wednesday of "the potential devastating impact of sequestration" on education programs. According to the National Education Association, a teachers' union, the cuts would reduce Head Start slots by 80,000, or more than 8 percent, and eliminate more than 30,000 classroom and administrative jobs.