Tomorrow the House Commitee on Education and Labor will be meeting to reauthorize the popular HeadStart program. For those unfamiliar with this, HeadStart is a program for children from low income families. It’s main purpose is to help these children with their education. As it is, the program’s charter includes anti-discrimination language that bars sponsoring groups from discrimination in employment.
The AU has just released an announcement stating that that could change as religious groups are seeking to be allowed an exemption from this language.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is urging Congress to block efforts to permit religious discrimination in hiring for Head Start programs.
Tomorrow the House Committee on Education and Labor will consider a reauthorization bill of the popular pre-school education program, Head Start. During the markup of the measure, one amendment and possibly more are likely to be offered that would repeal longstanding civil rights provisions that bar participating religious organizations from discriminating on the basis of religion when hiring or firing employees for Head Start programs.
If these amendments are approved, religious groups will be able to refuse employment to teachers on the basis of their religious beliefs and to also fire teachers on the grounds of their religious beliefs. For example, a Baptist could be refused employment by a Catholic and a Baptist could fire a Wiccan and everyone will be free to discriminate against non-theist teachers.
This is not right and I urge everyone to contact their representatives about this. A list of the members can be found here. They can be contacted via this page.