Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) released the following statement after Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited the Silver Spring Judy Center:
"I thank Secretary Duncan and Secretary Sebelius for visiting the Silver Spring Judy Center today and highlighting the full range of services that Judy Centers provide to students and families across our state. During their visit, they discussed the impact that sequestration could have on early childhood education in Maryland and throughout our nation. The arbitrary, across-the-board spending cuts imposed by the sequester could have a significant impact on Title I, IDEA, and Head Start funding, which could adversely affect Judy Centers' ability to serve our communities. I join the Secretaries in calling on Congress to enact a balanced plan that will avert sequestration and protect these critical investments that help provide a good education and a healthy start to Maryland students."
Judy Centers, named in tribute to Rep. Hoyer's late wife and longtime early childhood advocate Judith Hoyer, offer a wide variety of early childhood education programs and family support services to help young children prepare for and succeed in school. A recent report -- the Judith P. Hoyer Early Care and Education Enhancement Program 2012 Annual Report produced by the Maryland State Department of Education -- has shown the significant impact of Judy Centers on children starting kindergarten. In fall of 2011, 83% of Maryland's kindergartners were fully ready for school; 86% of children with Judy Center experience were fully ready; and 79% of children who entered kindergarten with their Judy Center peers but who did not have the Judy Center experience themselves were fully ready.