The House of Representatives today reauthorized funding for Head Start after successfully fighting off attempts to weaken the program’s longstanding anti-discrimination protections. Head Start offers vital pre-kindergarten education to thousands of low-income children and enriches communities by providing job opportunities for their parents. Opponents of Head Start demanded that religious institutions be granted an exemption to anti-discrimination portions of the program, despite the fact that churches and other religious institutions have had a long and positive partnership with the program.
People For the American Way Director of Public Policy Tanya Clay House issued the following statement:
“We’re proud to have helped reauthorize the Head Start program. This is a clear example of an education program that can make a crucial difference in the life of a child. Head Start has a record of success that all our programs should hope to emulate.
“For 5 years the reauthorization of Head Start has been delayed by ultra-conservatives determined to open up the federal program to religious discrimination. Today’s vote has been a long time coming, but it finally reaffirms our national commitment to protect the religious liberty of individuals in federally funded programs.
“Public education programs are no place for discrimination. Churches have played a valuable role in making Head Start a success, and I know they will continue to play that role in the years to come. There’s never been any need to tamper with this very successful formula.”