In the rollercoaster ride that is early learning advocacy, we’ve endured many a loop-de-loop and our fair share of hairpin turns. Now, with the election behind us, you might be feeling the labored chugging and nervous anticipation that comes with a steep climb. Hold on, everybody: we’re approaching the fiscal cliff.
You’re likely hearing a lot about the fiscal cliff in the news, but there are so many pieces—tax cuts, entitlement reform, the debt ceiling, and on and on—that it can be hard to keep track of what it might mean for any particular program. It is clear, though, that spending cuts will continue to be part of discussions about a possible “grand bargain,” and the threat to early learning funding remains very real.
Just how deep the cuts might be remains to be seen, but early estimates projected that Early Head Start, Head Start, and child care could be subject to an 8.2 percent cut. The impact of an 8.2 percent cut to these funding streams will be devastating to children, families, and communities. Conservative estimates show that 100,000 children could lose access to Head Start, and 80,000 children could lose their child care assistance. You can see an estimate of the effect in your state here.
As the experts on our post-analysis election call emphasized, members of Congress care about early learning programs, but they need help understanding how they help the people that matter to them most: their constituents. In these heady discussions about fiscal policy and debt reduction, they need reminders that indiscriminate cuts will do lasting harm, and that vulnerable children and families should be protected in any “grand bargain” they might strike.
We hope you’ll help us spread that message. Please consider using our outreach toolkit with easy templates that will help you remind Congress and the media that cuts to Head Start and child care will impact real people who live in their districts in very real ways. The templates are geared toward providers, and we hope you’ll circulate them to any Head Start or child care providers in your networks. They can also be easily adapted by advocates, business leaders or other stakeholders.
Finally, please share your outreach and data with us! We want to echo your message and spread your stories on the Hill and in our own conversations with reporters. We’re all in for wild ride, but we can work together to make sure early learning is buckled in and holding on tight.