/State legislators laud Head Start at Capitol rally

State legislators laud Head Start at Capitol rally

Head Start was a federal program for children of low income families that was launched in 1965. According to the description of the federal program, it serves children aged birth to five years old and focuses on language and literacy as well as social and emotional development. A total of 20 Democratic legislators spoke out in support of Head Start Tuesday at a press conference. They said that Head Start helps Mississippi children achieve their potential for success for life. In a press release, Nita Norphlet Thompson, Mississippi Head Start Association Executive director, stated that Head Start has been an integral part of Mississippi’s early childhood landscape, preparing children for school and strengthening families for more than 50 years. “Statewide research shows that Head Start is helping Mississippi children make significant gains in language, literacy, math skills, and physical development,” Nita Norphlet-Thompson, Mississippi Head Start Association Executive Director, stated in a release. Mississippi Head Start currently serves approximately 25,000 children. It also runs sub-programs that help parents with job training and childcare. The Trump administration proposes a slight increase to funding for Head Start, but it would eliminate Preschool Development Grants. These grants are used by many states to expand preschool programs. The state does not provide additional funding for Head Start other than what is available through federal dollars. A few lawmakers used their time at the conference to remind the audience of their candidacy for the Mississippi congressional elections. State Rep. Omeria Scott is running for the incumbent U.S. Senator Roger Wicker’s seat. She told the crowd Mississippi needs to have a “real voice” at the Senate that understands its needs. The Laurel Democrat stated that Head Start is a federal program and that it’s important to have someone at the federal level who can articulate the need for Head Start and all early education in the most economically disadvantaged states in the Union. You know better than anyone that your monies are coming from Washington. So you need a new messenger to Washington. Someone who will speak for your program and who won’t vote to cut it that is proven.” Rep. Michael Evans (D-Preston) is running for the seat left vacant by Rep. Gregg Harper’s retirement later in the year. Evans stated to the crowd, “I promise you that if I make it all the way to Washington in November, I’ll be a strong supporter of Head Start.”