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On Thursday, February 17, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited the Judy Hoyer Early Learning Center at Cool Springs Elementary School in Adelphi, Maryland. Sebelius reads to a group of 4-year old Head Start students.

One of the things to pay attention to as House Republicans keep the government shut down is how the ripple effect spreads. When the government shuts down, it affects whole communities, whether it's businesses near national parks losing customers or this, in the case of Head Start programs closed by the shutdown:

[Victoria] Thomas, a graduate student in agribusiness at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, has struggled to find alternative care for Faith after Congress failed to agree on funding Head Start and other federal programs. She’s been taking her daughter to campus with her since the Head Start program closed. [...]

Faith’s teacher, Venita Treadwell, said she worried that the 20 children in her class may forget how to tie their shoes, count and spell their names during a prolonged shutdown -- especially if they end up with preoccupied babysitters or in front of a television all day, she said. [...]

“They told us to watch the news and pray,” said Christine Forde, whose daughter, Lyriq, is in the same class with Faith. Forde, who works two jobs and is taking Internet classes, had to find $300 for last-minute day care.

Because this one program closed, you've got kids who aren't learning what they might be and may have inadequate care, parents who are scrambling to find care for their kids—whether by paying money they don't have or facing serious distraction from taking a four-year-old to graduate school—and teachers and staff who are without paychecks. That's quite a toll, and of course it's hitting low-income kids and workers. If it was hitting rich people, Republicans would have held five votes to fund it by now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 11:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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