The House voted Thursday to let Head Start centers consider religion when hiring workers, overshadowing its moves to strengthen the preschool program's academics and finances.
The Republican-led House approved a bill that lets churches and other faith-based preschool centers hire only people who share their religion, yet still receive federal tax dollars.
Democrats blasted that idea as discriminatory.
Launched in the 1960s, the nearly $7 billion Head Start program provides comprehensive education to more than 900,000 poor children. Though credited for getting kids ready for school, Head Start has drawn scrutiny as cases of financial waste and questions about academic quality have surfaced nationwide.
Overall, the House bill would insert more competition into Head Start grants, require greater disclosure of how money is spent, and try to improve collaboration among educators in different grades. Yet on Thursday, the dispute over religion eroded the bipartisan support for Head Start's renewal.
The House passed the bill 231-184; only 23 Democrats voted for it.
Mr. Bluememe, that incorrigible prankster, sends links like this along to me knowing full well that my head explodes when reading them. But there will be no flying gray matter today! Think of it--no longer will the educations of our little rotini and gnoccheti be corrupted by those who have not been touched by His Noodly Appendage, and who cling to the dogma of baser religions with their patently absurd notions about the origins of the universe.
No, by the time our little ones reach grade school, they will not only be little reading demons, they will be fully versed and wholly literate in the Word of the FSM, from Angel Hair to Ziti. And when the time comes, they will ace the SAT examinations tailored to FSM adherents that will be cheerfully distributed by our learned friends at the Educational Testing Service.