To the editor: When Head Start began in 1965, at its foundation was the idea that families and communities were integral to supporting children’s successful early learning and development. Family engagement is still the main focus of the Head Start program and vital to its success for children, regardless of financial situation. Head Start has a positive impact not just on families but on communities as well by changing the cycle of poverty.
Research shows that children in these programs are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college to lead healthy productive lives. When children have the opportunity to learn essential skills at an early age, they get a “head start” at succeeding in life. Regardless of where they live or their family’s income, all kids should have access to high-quality early education opportunities that set them up to reach their full potential.
Without ample opportunities at a productive life, it is likely more lives will slip back into the poverty cycle. In turn, this contributes to unemployment and crime, which affects the lives of others as well. Fairbanks needs more facilities and staffing to make positive changes, as mentioned above. The waitlist for these programs is a mile long, and children are likely to get into public school before gaining access to early education.
In conclusion, Congress needs to increase the federal commitment to Head Start so more children, families and communities have the same opportunity to thrive.