Early education anticipates expansion, braces for cuts

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Lofty plans from Washington could change at what age your child starts going to school, but first Congress has to move some vital education programs off the budget chopping block.

"We've grown from a class of five for three and four year-olds to a class of twelve," said Maggie Manges, an educator with Creative Beginnings II, a private child development center in the South Strand.

"Any child that does a Head Start, 4 year old, or private program like ours would have a much better chance in Kindergarten," Manges said.

Recently, President Barack Obama has expressed an interest in expanding early education programs, including pre-Kindergarten and Head Start classes.

"We're hoping this will expand our reach to more families," said Waccamaw EOC Director James Pasley. The Waccamaw EOC oversees Head Start for Horry, Georgetown, and Williamsburg Counties. It focuses on families with severe financial difficulties, disabilities, and other developmental difficulties.

"We work to expose the children to everything they need to be school ready," he said.

Pasley expressed optimism with the proposed expansion, though he's quick to point out it's only rhetoric at this point, no plan has been unveiled.

But, with Congress looking at automatic spending cuts going into effect March 1, with Head Start included on the list, he says the fate of America's children are hanging in the balance.

"In terms of our politicians, where are they going to make their investment?" He asked. "We know the investment in Head Start pays off."

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