Letters to the Editor

HEAD START: Change threatens valuable program

Re: “Federal proposal threatens core of Head Start’s success” (Viewpoint, 8-10).

As a 24-year veteran Head Start director, I saw successes result from the parents and staff working on goals created in the Family Partnership Plan (FPP).

How does one learn to make dreams become reality? By setting small steps and achieving a goal. Who teaches us how to do this? Our parents.

Persons living in poverty do not always have role models teaching us to dream and plan. When Head Start began in 1965, it was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, a war we continue to fight using strategies employed by the FPP.

Just as children learn by teachers guiding them. Parents learn by mentors supporting their efforts, holding them accountable while leading them to community resources. I saw numerous parents enroll in community college, obtain an associate’s degree and move into a well-paying job. I observed families establishing a budget for the first time. I went with parents to D.C. and Olympia to talk with their legislators, telling their story of success through Head Start.

Don’t weaken parent services by changing a policy that works.

John F. Naegele