After listening to last week's NPR story on the Bush Administration plans to kill the Even Start Program, which provides intensive family literacy services at local public schools to immigrant families, I wondered how such programs in Tennessee would fare, especially given the recent push at the local and state levels for English Only restrictions on government employees.
From what I've heard so far, this English literacy program has suffered because of Bush Administration attempts to kill it over the past several years. One Even Start official here told me that the past three years have been particularly difficult and that a group adversely affected by the loss of Even Start would be the teenage parents that the program serves. A former Even Start official told me that she watched past federal cuts drastically reduce program personnel. I tried to contact the State Even Start Director Tabatha Siddiqi for her response, but she did not return my e-mail.
With the growing backlash against immigrant families in Tennessee, it would be a travesty to lose a literacy program that does the very thing that English Only proponents claim to desire.