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A Look At Head Start Essay

2215 words - 9 pages

In January of 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson declared “war on poverty” in a state of the union speech. His dream for a better America came with the greatest prosperity of the post war years. The nations GNP was up, unemployment was down and disposable personal income was at an all-time high. As the baby boom generation aged more American’s than ever would enter the work force and it was imperative that the county develop some a plan for its growing nation. To deal with concern that poverty threatened American progress, their administrations pushed hard for economic growth that could create full employment and for social reform that could enable the poor to access what President Johnson called “the good life.”
As part of Johnsons war on poverty he create the idea of a “great society” in which ground rules were laid out for programs that the president was sure would help the nation. Johnsons first ever reference to the great society came in a speech directed toward students at the Ohio University in Athens where he proudly boasted “and with your courage and with your compassion and your desire, we will build the great society where no child will go unfed, and no youngster will go unschooled”. [1]Johnson was dedicated to this ideal of a new society, together with Sargent Shriver, he worked on developing a committee of civil rights activist. He arraigned a team of sociologist, psychologist and pediatricians including pediatrician Dr. Robert Cooke of John Hopkins University. Johnson and his crew worked rigorously to develop a program to help America’s children overcome the obstacle of poverty. The name head start was chosen as a representation of the gap that is ever present between middle class and lower class children academically and the ideal that this program would give underprivileged children a much needed head start on education and over all wellbeing.
The announcement was given in the spring of 1965 that an official head start program had been developed and was going to be given a trial period of 8 weeks over that summer. The program was designed for low income families with children entering school that fall and was intended to offer services in the medical, dental, education and mental health fields. Children who would be attending head start would be coming from households that would be significantly disadvantaged over their peers and it was thought that a program like head start could help close the educational gap between children from various economic levels. In 1969, Head Start was transferred from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the Office of Child Development in the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and has now become a program within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. Although Head Start has had a strong impact on communities and early childhood programs across the country, many still question its lasting impact on education. No doubt it has changed the...

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