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Resolutions & Amendments

38th International Convention - San Francisco, CA (2008)

Secure the Nation's Head Start Program

Resolution No. 71
38th International Convention
Moscone West
July 28 - August 1, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Since 1965, Head Start, and now Early Head Start, have provided comprehensive and successful services for 25 million low-income families in this nation’s rural and metropolitan communities, encouraging children to develop and family values to advance; and

Head Start is America at its best, delivering medical, dental, mental health screening, parenting resources and other social and health services, in addition to necessary early education services, which prepare these children to compete with their peers with more resources; and

Head Start’s philosophy is to develop the “whole child” using an effective curriculum that reflects young children’s stages of development: social, emotional, intellectual, physical, cognitive and language development. Head Start children, who enter the public school system, exhibit by the spring of their Kindergarten year a higher level of development than other preschool children in the cited studies; and

Studies have indicated that the Head Start investment pays off society by its children’s increased earnings, employment and family stability over the past forty years. For every dollar spent on Head Start, studies have demonstrated that society receives nearly nine dollars in benefits. Head Start children are less likely to have been charged with a crime than their siblings, who did not participate in the training; and

Congress and the executive branch have a shortfall of $1 billion in Head Start funding since 2002. In Head Start funding for FY 2008, there is an $11 million cut, which means no COLA for Head Start workers, no quality funding and no expansion of this needed program. This program should not suffer in a year that Congress may approve some $20 billion in appropriations earmarks; and

The President’s budget request for FY 2008 is inadequate to cope with health care insurance premium increases, rent hikes, gasoline and heating fuel costs and the expensive unfunded mandates, including new transportation rules and testing requirements.

That AFSCME and its affiliates call for at least $1.072 billion to be added to Head Start in fiscal 2008 to halt the decline in services in local Head Start programs that will force many of them to be in non-compliance with federal performance standards. Childrens’ advocates fear that many of these comprehensive services may never be restored if cut, due to a lack of financial resources and inflation-induced cuts; and

That AFSCME and its affiliates acknowledge that if annual COLA increases and quality funding are not considered each year, the program and staffing will suffer from quality retention; and

That AFSCME call on Congress to increase the Head Start income eligibility guidelines; and

That Congress rejects all proposals of unfunded mandates involving Head Start, which will force dedicated and experienced staff to leave the program, cause unnecessary disruption of services both in rural and metropolitan communities and are likely to have an affect on the young children and the families they service; and

Congress appropriates $360 million per year for five years to make up for the shortfalls that Head Start and Early Head Start have suffered under the Bush administration; and

That AFSCME and its affiliates prepare a comprehensive fight-back program to protect Head Start in general and its organized Head Start members at the local level immediately, which will combine the resources of both the International and affiliates to organize support for Head Start in the communities with parents, houses of worship, advocates, elected officials and others and on the national level by lobbying Congress with correspondence, visits, emails and telephone calls pronouncing that increasing funding for Head Start is investing in America’s future.
SUBMITTED BY: Betty Powell, President and Delegate
Carolyn Cox, Vice President and Delegate
AFSCME Local 95 Council 1707
New York