Ronald Reagan “Saves” Head Start

Edward Zigler and Sally J. Styfco

in The Hidden History of Head Start

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393767
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776993 | DOI:


Ronald Reagan “Saves” Head Start

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This chapter discusses the status of the Head Start program under the Reagan administration. Reagan's conservative views, his disdain for social programs, and his voiced desire for a smaller federal government signaled that Head Start was in for a difficult period. The greatest fear advocates had was that the new administration would block-grant the program to the states, essentially ending the Head Start that its advocates knew and had worked so hard to improve and grow. Remember too that Reagan, like Carter, was a former governor. Since the inception of Head Start the governors have been troubled by the fact that large amounts of federal money for the program come into their states, and they have no control over where and how this money was spent. This gave Reagan even more reason to want to block-grant Head Start. Thus, at the outset of the Reagan administration, the goal of Head Start advocates was simply to maintain Head Start as a federal program run out of Washington.

Keywords: poor children; pre-school children; intervention programs; education programs; Head Start; education policy

Chapter.  8958 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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