A Not-So-Hidden Cost of Sequestration: Childhood Education
In his 1964 State of the Union address, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the war on poverty. At the time, the poverty rate in the United States was nearly 20 percent, and at his urging Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act, a piece of legislation that created the Office of Economic Opportunity, which was later folded into the Office of Community Services in the Department of Health and Homeland Security in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.
One of the most significant — and often controversial — programs to come out of the war on poverty is the Head Start Program, which was launched in 1965. The program was initially designed to bring low-income children who had been unable to attend preschool or obtain education at home up to speed during the summer so that they could enter a regular kindergarten program at the beginning of the academic year in the fall.
Unfortunately, results were underwhelming. Children usually entering the program at age 5 and who had spent their entire lives in poverty were largely unable to “catch up” in just six weeks, and the program was overhauled in 1981.