Sheng Thao Oakland Councilor struggles to remain forward | Oakland Information now

Oakland Council President, Pro Tempore Sheng Thao, District 4, focuses on head start

Oakland – Decades of research have shown that a child’s first five years of life are critical to the physical, cognitive, and emotional development that will affect the child throughout their life. Head Start provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parenting services to help every child thrive later in life, regardless of parent’s income. Founded in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson as part of his Great Society campaign, the program continues to be an important resource for low-income Oakland community members and their children today.

That summer, Oakland City Council determined that three Oakland Head Start Centers, primarily serving BIPOC communities, should be closed due to budget cuts. During the summer recess in September, Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao, Vice Mayor Kaplan, Council President Bas and Councilor Fife jointly drafted a resolution providing funds to keep these Head Start Centers open.

Since September members of the city council have heard from affected community and work partners that budget cuts may still be made in the Head Start Centers. These cuts would disproportionately harm mothers, low-income parishioners and BIPOC communities.

“How can we say that everyone can lead a better life for themselves if we don’t give our youngest Oaklanders a fair chance?” Said Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao. “Every person born and raised in Oakland should be able to access the resources they need to grow as a person and lead better lives for themselves and their families. Early childhood education, nutrition, and parenting support are essential services to ensuring everyone in Oakland has a chance to fight. It is imperative that the City of Oakland fully fund Head Start and even improve the program. “

Councilor Thao is campaigning to ensure that Head Start staff are not fired, Head Start Centers are closed, and Oakland Head Start is not reorganized as the City Council works to protect and strengthen Oakland Head Start’s services.

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