Pelosi Statement on the 50th Anniversary of Head Start

May 18, 2015
Press Release

Contact: Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today released this statement on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Head Start, which provides early childhood education to millions of American families:

“Fifty years ago, President Johnson signed into law the Head Start Act to ensure children’s futures are unencumbered by the net of poverty.  For half a century, Head Start has been one of America’s most popular initiatives because it is one of our most effective.  Nothing returns more money to the Treasury than the investment in education and nothing contributes more to the success of our children than education.

“At the Head Start signing ceremony in 1965, President Johnson explained, ‘we set out to make certain that poverty’s children would not be forevermore poverty’s captives.’  By ensuring that more children from low-income families arrive at school ready to learn and ready to succeed, Head Start changes lives, improves communities, and strengthens our great democracy.  Head Start has been vital to bridging the gap between poverty and possibilities for America’s children by providing health, nutrition, social and other services critical to their development.

“House Democrats take seriously our responsibility to America’s children and understand that our future will only be as strong as our commitment to the well-being of every child.  For the first time in our nation’s history, more than half the students attending public schools live below the poverty line.  It is outrageous that Republicans want to slash resources for this proven path out of poverty.  Every child – regardless of their parents’ income, country of origin, or zip code – deserves a chance to learn.  As we mark the 50th anniversary of Head Start, let us renew our commitment to ensuring all our children have the tools needed to succeed.”

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