Head Start celebrates fifty years of success
By ALLAN TINKER
Head Start was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s "War on Poverty." The program began in the summers of 1965 and 1966 with summer programs intended to break the cycle of poverty, provide preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their assorted social, health and nutritional needs, among others.
Donations from the communities the program would serve, as well as volunteer hours, would keep the programs culturally sensitive to the areas they were serving in each portion of the country.
Under the Carter administration, the program began bilingual and bicultural programs in about 21 states.
Building upon the early structure in place, the Reagan administration’s budget for the program expanded to more than $1 billion.
Again, under the Clinton administration, the program grew to include Early Head Start grants and the expansion of Head Start programs to full day and full year services. The program was most recently reauthorized in 2007, under the George W. Bush administration, with several provisions strengthening the Head Start program quality.