Parents Protest Possible Cuts to Pre-School Program - 8 News NOW

Parents Protest Possible Cuts to Pre-School Program

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LAS VEGAS -- Teachers, parents and activists staged a protest outside the Clark County School District building Thursday in hopes of keeping one program from being cut during the sequester.

"Right now, I'm a single working mother. I'm not on public assistance of any other kind. Without the Head Start program, then it becomes really challenging," said Diane Forsman.

Her 5-year-old daughter, Dylan, is in Head Start.

"The resources that they were able to hook us up with, in terms of medical care and dental and all that good stuff, would have been a lot more challenging for us to find because we were so new to the area."

"Since 1965, Head Start has helped over 200 million Americans," said Connie Snyder, a volunteer with Organizing for Action.

After 48 years -- with the sequester now looming -- Head Start programs nationwide are bracing for the chopping block.

"I am a retired teacher," Snyder said. She believes early intervention with underprivileged kids is important, especially if they don't have support at home.

A recent evaluation report by the Department of Health and Human services shows the $8 billion a year taxpayer-funded Head Start program may not be all that effective when it comes to a child's well-being and academic success.

It found the positive impacts for Head Start kids didn't last as a child entered elementary school. The study looked at 5,000 third graders, some received Head Start, while others didn't.

"These programs have been proven to be very successful for children, and the effects are seen well into the third grade. I know opponents of the program often say the effects wear off after that length of time, but I would say, let's look then at kindergarten, first grade and second grade," Forsman said.

It's estimated, sequestration could cut roughly 300 students from Head Start programs across Nevada.

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