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Hoyer Highlights Sequester's Impact at Paint Branch Elementary

House Minority Whip and Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-5th) met with teachers, parents, and support staff at Paint Branch Elementary School Tuesday morning to discuss the effects of federal spending cuts on Head Start services in Maryland. 

Paint Branch Elementary is one of 35 Head Start locations in Prince George’s County. The sites offers a wide array of services to 864 families throughout the county, including early childhood education, health support services, nutritional assistance, and family advocacy.

“The comprehensive early childhood services provided through Head Start and Early Head Start are critical to closing the achievement gap and ensuring our students can succeed,” Hoyer said in a statement after Tuesday's visit. 

The spending cuts brought about by the unfolding federal sequester could result in 70,000 children nationwide losing access to Head Start, according to Hoyer, including 800 in Maryland. But he believes there is time to develop a balanced approach to deficit reduction that will protect such programs. 

“Head Start services help ensure our students can reach their full potential, and I remain committed to working on a bipartisan basis to replace these irrational cuts before our families and children begin to feel the harmful consequences,” Hoyer added. 

According to the White House, sequestration could have the following additional effects on Maryland students:

  • The state would lose about $14.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting approximately 200 teacher and aide jobs at risk.
  • About 770 fewer low-income students would receive aid to help them finance college and about 440 fewer students would get work-study jobs that help them pay for college. 
  • Up to 400 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to childcare. 

Hoyer also used Tuesday's Paint Branch visit to meet with students in a Head Start classroom and read from the children's classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.