School Desegregation

What is Head Start?

A federally funded and comprehensive program in child development, Head Start serves young children and families in poverty. Since more than one in three children in the program are African American, Head Start is especially meaningful in the African-American community. Its assistance to the recipients is short-lived, lasting only a few years. When President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his “War on Poverty” and the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act was passed, Head Start emerged as well. It became a part of the Office of Child Development in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1969. The Civil Rights Movement and social and political activism strongly influenced the beginning of the Head Start program. Head Start has been studied through federally mandated evaluations and highly sophisticated investigations. Conclusions are that it is an insufficient remedy for the challenges that many African-American families and children face; however, it does have a broad and positive impact on the recipients.


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