Residents of Coldwater in Branch County braved the frigid temperatures last Friday to let voters of their town know a bit about their U.S. Congressman Tim Walberg. At a time when all eyes are on education, especially here in Michigan, these hearty souls wanted to draw attention to Walberg’s failed record of support for Head Start. The even took place just one week after Congressman Tim Walberg hypocritically campaigned at a local pre-school with Head Start students.
“Congressman Walberg should apologize to Michigan families for campaigning in a Head Start Program after voting against Head Start and questioning whether the program is successful,” said Betty Rissman. “Congressman Walberg should stop playing politics and start working to protect Head Start.”
In 2013, Walberg threatened funding for Head Start when he joined his Republican colleagues in their Republican Government Shutdown, a petulant and meaningless temper tantrum in which they pretended they were not going to pay bills they had already accrued on behalf of Americans.
In 2007 Walberg opposed a bipartisan early childhood program which reauthorized the Head Start program through 2012. This vital program has provided over 24 million children with education and essential social services, like health and nutrition, since it began in 1965. The conference report increased Head Start teacher salaries, increased the number of eligible participants, tightened program accountability, and authorized $24 million for the program from 2008-2010. The conference report passed 381-36 without Congressman Walberg’s support. The same year he voted against HR 1429 which increased funding levels to allow up to 10,000 more kids to access the Head Start program.
Again in 2007, Walberg voted against an amendment to the Head Start reauthorization bill that would authorize the Education Department to implement a program to forgive student loans for Head Start and Early Head Start teachers. The program would apply to teachers who receive a bachelor’s degree in a field related to early childhood education and agree to teach in the Head Start program for at least three years.
Last year when President Obama announced plans to expand Head Start, Congressman Walberg was there to shoot it down. “I’m not sure what he is really getting at in talking of starting a new program of preschool education opportunities when there may be a case made that we aren’t doing well with the ones that are presently in place,” Walberg told the Detroit News in March of last year.
It’s a failed history of support for early education and just one more reason why Tim Walberg’s days are numbered in Congress.
[Photos used with permission]