The Birth of Head Start: Preschool Education Policies in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations

Paperback | May 15, 2008

byMaris A. Vinovskis

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One of the most popular and enduring legacies of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs, Project Head Start continues to support young children of low-income families-close to one million annually-by providing a range of developmental and educational services. Yet as Head Start reaches its fortieth anniversary, debates over the function and scope of this federal program persist. Although the program's importance is unquestioned across party lines, the direction of its future—whether toward a greater focus on school readiness and literacy or the continuation of a holistic approach-remains a point of contention.

Policymakers proposing to reform Head Start often invoke its origins to justify their position, but until now no comprehensive political history of the program has existed. Maris A. Vinovskis here provides an in-depth look at the nation's largest and best known—yet politically challenged—early education program. The Birth of Head Start sets the record straight on the program's intended aims, documenting key decisions made during its formative years. While previous accounts of Head Start have neglected the contributions of important participants such as federal education officials and members of Congress, Vinovskis's history is the first to consider the relationship between politics and policymaking and how this interaction has shaped the program. This thorough and incisive book will be essential for policymakers and legislators interested in prekindergarten education and will inform future discussions on early intervention services for disadvantaged children.

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From the Publisher

One of the most popular and enduring legacies of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs, Project Head Start continues to support young children of low-income families-close to one million annually-by providing a range of developmental and educational services. Yet as Head Start reaches its fortieth anniversary, debates ov...

From the Jacket

One of the most popular and enduring legacies of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs, Project Head Start continues to support close to one million young children of low-income families annually by providing a range of developmental and educational services. Yet as Head Start reaches its fortieth anniversary, debates ov...

Maris A. Vinovskis is the Bentley Professor of History at the University of Michigan, where he is also a member of the faculty of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Institute for Social Research. He has written and edited numerous books, including History and Educational Policymaking and Learning from the Past: What His...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:219 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:May 15, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226856720

ISBN - 13:9780226856728

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Introduction
1. Changing Views of Poverty and Early Child Development
2. Education, Poverty, and Early Schooling in the Kennedy Administration
3. Education Policy, the War on Poverty, and the 1964 Election
4. Organizing OEO and Passing ESEA
5. Implementing, Evaluating, and Improving Head Start Programs
6. Congressional and Administration Debates about Transferring Head Start
Conclusion
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Vinovskis''s history of Head Start is a shining example of the importance of understanding the origins of social programs in order to provide a solid ground for future decision making. It shows that the conflict between comprehensive services and school readiness, a debate that is still raging today, has been a part of Head Start from the beginning. It is unlikely that there will ever be another study of the origins of Head Start that is as balanced, probing, and complete as this spectacular volume."--Ron Haskins, The Brookings Institution