Restart for Head Start

Article excerpt

AMERICAN public education added a new dimension in 1965. Called Head Start, it was a product of the civil rights movement, and it promised to loosen the shackles of discrimination and poverty for many disadvantaged children.

Aimed originally at pre-schoolers and those in the primary grades, it quickly became more than that.

According to Yale University psychology Prof. Edward Zigler, architect of the basic Head Start approach, the program's distinguishing characteristics are flexibility in meeting the needs of disadvantaged children and the involvement of virtually entire communities in seeking to prepare children for school and other experiences.

Although it had detractors from the beginning and has experienced some serious administrative problems - including misuse of funds in one California program - Head Start has filled a community need and involved hundreds of local residents in the process.

It has meant the difference between progress and failure to a great many of the 600,000 to 700,000 children in its community programs. Those who have participated in or closely observed the Head Start process tend to be impressed by its positive effects on both those helping and the recipients of help. …