Friday, June 13, 2003

Show me the money!

Diana Schemo of the Times writes: House G.O.P. Drafts Bill to Overhaul Head Start

Over the opposition of Democrats, Republican lawmakers drafted legislation today to overhaul Head Start, the national day care program for poor children, ending a 38-year history of bipartisan consensus as old as the program.

Advocates of the current Head Start program complain that the bill's high ambitions are not matched with the money to meet them. The advocates and Democratic lawmakers also contend that they had not seen the bill under discussion until Wednesday evening, not leaving enough time for study and debate.

The bill would also allow religion-based groups that run Head Start programs to consider religion in hiring, exempting them from antidiscrimination clauses in the bill.

The measure, however, would still require all Head Start teachers to have four-year college degrees by 2008.

Amy Wilkins, executive director of the Trust for Early Education, estimates that Head Start would have to increase by $2.2 billion a year to pay its teachers a competitive salary at the higher educational level. But that money is not in the bill.

The Thugs talk the talk. But when it comes time to talk the talk -- that is, to actually appropriate some money -- it's "See you later! We gave already gave the money away in the tax cut for the rich!" True for Afghanistan, true for Homeland Security, and true here. All hat and no cattle.