The Public Interest

The charmed life of Head Start

Peter Skerry

Fall 1983

ON the occasion of its fifteenth anniversary in March 1980, Head Start was declared by President Jimmy Carter to be one of those rarities-“a program that works.” And on this one point, at least, few would seem to disagree with him. Even the Reagan administration has looked kindly on Head Start, including it in the social “safety net” exempted from budget cuts. And as the Urban Institutes Changing Domestic Priorities Project points out, Head Start is unique among social service programs in that under the present administration it has actually enjoyed increasing appropriations. Indeed, for fiscal 1984 the President has proposed a Head Start budget of $1.05 billion, a substantial increase over the $912 million allocated for the previous year.

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