Skip directly to content

Head Start celebrates 50 years.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson first launched Head Start. Intended to be a cornerstone program of his War on Poverty, Johnson said, "Five- and 6-year-old children are inheritors of poverty's curse, and not its creators. Unless we act, these children will pass it on to the next generation, like a family birthmark. I believe that this is one of the constructive, and one of the most sensible, and also one of the most exciting programs that this nation has ever undertaken."

In the ensuing 50 years, more than 32 million children have benefited from Head Start. Head Start alumni have grown up and changed our country in countless ways – they’ve become teachers, mayors, Members of Congress, musicians, business owners, and everything in between. Head Start is more than just an early education classroom, it’s a social, educational and health support system that benefits the whole family.

President Obama added: "Supporting our children in their earliest years with high-quality care and education is one of the best investments we can make as a Nation -- and for 50 years, Head Start has helped to lift up millions of America's children and their families in communities across our country.  The oldest and largest Federal program to deliver high-quality early learning opportunities to low-income children, Head Start was founded on the idea that every child -- no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they grow up -- deserves the chance to reach their full potential.  Since 1965, it has given meaning to the simple truth that in America, where you start should not determine how far you can go."