An advocacy group for the National Head Start Program filed a lawsuit June 12 accusing the Bush administration of violating the free-speech rights of local Head Start staff members and their stakeholders by trying to stifle an electronic campaign to save the program in its current format.

At issue is whether local Head Start chapters can use computers at federally funded facilities to engage in any political activity. But the lawsuit is merely the latest salvo in an increasingly heated political battle over the future of Head Start, which promotes educational opportunities for underserved preschoolers.

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