Head Start Criticism Wakens Irish Temper
Sir: Thanks to the letter by Mrs. Madden in the Feb. 2 Dispatch, my Irish temper which has been near the boiling-point found a vent.
Perhaps, ma’am, I can speak for my neighbors in public housing. We have lived in Roosevelt homes for five years now, and I believe we understand our neighbors a little better than we did when we moved here.
You say: “if some of these fathers” would go to work, it would eliminate the need for welfare.
Mrs. Madden, if you really mean that, if you can find work for all the husbands and fathers in my neighborhood (most of them are working) who have stood by their families in sickness and in health; work that pays an adequate salary so that we mothers can stay home and spend our time caring for our families, I will personally circulate a petition to elect you mayor, via write in. You are the best thing that has happened since Mrs. Butler…
Not all our children need Head Start; mine don’t even qualify. And some of us do take our children to museums and the library. But some mothers, for reasons you may never understand are too busy, too tired, too emotionally involved in their own problems to do this. But none of us can completely shelter them from hurts. The most disadvantaged thing they will ever have to face is the attitude of their affluent neighbors who label all of them “Project Kids.”
Most of us are disadvantaged in one way or another Mrs. Madden. Those of us who live in public housing have no corner on disadvantaged children. There are mothers in your neighborhood too who are neglecting their children. But here there are private organizations who are doing the same thing as Head Start, if you can pay the fee.
Sometimes the type of disadvantage in a more affluent home takes a different form.
You can take your children on trips, expose them to culture, and even give them every material advantage, and if they do not also learn understanding and compassion, they too are disadvantaged. This too, begins at home.