Presidential Proclamation — 50th Anniversary of Head Start




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.

In the last half-century, Head Start has served 32 million children, supporting them in every aspect of their development — from early learning and health and nutrition to social and emotional well-being.  Designed to cultivate original ideas and innovative approaches to preparing children for success later in school and in life, Head Start has pioneered new solutions to fight the harmful effects of poverty and build ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  In small towns and large cities — in America’s immigrant communities and with migrant and seasonal families, faith-based communities, and tribal leaders — Head Start programs and providers empower children and their families to foster positive parent-child relationships, to reach for economic and family stability, and to make important connections to their peers and their communities.

During a critical period in a child’s life, Head Start sets our Nation’s young people on the path to success.  We know that investments in early childhood education boost graduation rates, increase earnings, and reduce violent crime.  And 3- and 4-year-olds who attend high-quality preschool — including Head Start — are less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to need special education, and more likely to graduate from high school.  This head start in life leaves a lasting impact on our students and fuels their curiosity, helping them to grow up with a passion for learning, a fair shot at good-paying jobs, and a more secure future.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Early Head Start, created to enhance the impact of Head Start by serving children from birth to age 3, as well as expectant mothers — ensuring all children receive the best care possible. This expansion has made a real difference for thousands of infants, toddlers, and their families.  As President, I have endeavored to strengthen Head Start and build on its legacy.  My Administration has expanded the program to reach tens of thousands of additional children and families in the depth of the economic recession.  We have instituted reforms to raise the standards and focus on improving outcomes across Head Start programs and classrooms, so that children and families can rely on the highest quality of services.  And we have launched new ways to build connections between Early Head Start and America’s child care subsidy system to reach additional infants and toddlers in need of high-quality early care and education.  We will continue to invest in Head Start and strive to expand its reach to additional children and families throughout America. Our children deserve nothing less.

Despite five decades of tremendous success, too many young people still grow up without access to a world-class education.  Instead of receiving a head start in life, they start out a step behind.  As a Nation, we must continue our work to ensure the promise of education is within reach for all our daughters and sons.  That is why I have proposed a series of new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for every child, beginning at birth and continuing to age 5.  This year, I unveiled a plan that would make quality child care available to every middle-class and low-income family with young children under the age of 3.  I have also called on the Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool and full-day kindergarten for every child in America.  And I am calling on all Americans — including leaders of private and philanthropic organizations, communities, and governments at every level — to make their own commitments to our children, an effort that has already led to an investment of more than $1 billion to support our next generation of thinkers, dreamers, and doers.

The history of Head Start has taught us that if our Nation invests in the future of all our children, we can strengthen our economy, bolster our communities, and give every young person the chance to build a better life.  As we mark the 50th anniversary of Head Start, let us rededicate ourselves to building an education system worthy of our daughters’ and sons’ enormous potential, and to providing a strong, healthy, and safe head start in life for all of America’s children.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 18, 2015, as the 50th Anniversary of Head Start.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that recognize the importance of this vital program and support high-quality education for all Americans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.


Source: The White House

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Remarks by the President at the 2011 Tribal Nations Conference


THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you. Everybody please have a seat.  It is wonderful to see all of you. Thank you, Phyllis, for the wonderful introduction.

I want to thank all the tribal leaders who are here for making this year’s conference the most successful yet.  I want to acknowledge outstanding members of my team that have helped pull this together, but, more importantly, day in and day out are thinking about what we can do to make sure that all the tribes that are represented have a voice here in Washington.

Source: The White House

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Our Children Can’t Wait: New Regulations Increase Accountability and Boost Quality in Head Start | The White House


We know that the first years of our children’s lives are critical. That’s when the most rapid development happens in their brains and when they pick up the social, emotional, and academic skills that will help them succeed.  When children get what they need during these early years, it can lay the foundation for success in school and through every stage of their lives.

President Obama and HHS’s announcement today of historic reforms to the Head Start program will help to ensure that all children in Head Start are attending top-notch programs that will help them reach their full potential. The Department of Health and Human Services will implement new rules that will – for the first time in the program’s history– require all Head Start grantees that fail to meet a new set of rigorous quality benchmarks to compete for continued federal funding.

Source: The White House

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We Can’t Wait: President Obama Takes Action to Improve Quality and Promote Accountability in Head Start Programs | The White House


Today, the President will announce important steps to improve the quality of services and accountability at Head Start centers across the country.  The Department of Health and Human Services will implement new rules that will – for the first time – require all low-performing Head Start grantees that fail to meet a new set of rigorous benchmarks to re-compete for continued federal funding.

This reform will help direct taxpayer dollars to programs that provide high-quality Head Start services and ensure Head Start programs provide the best available early education services to children in every community. Today’s announcement is part of a series of actions President Obama has taken because America’s children only get one chance and can’t wait for help getting a world-class education.

Source: The White House

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Obama Steps Up Competition for Lower-Income Federal Program – Bloomberg


President Barack Obama said changes he’s ordering to the Head Start pre-school education program to require more rigorous competition for federal dollars will help make the program more effective.

“Early education is one of our best investments in America’s future, right out of the gate it helps prepare our kids for a competition that’s never been tougher,” Obama said after touring a Head Start center in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. That preparation is more important than ever because the U.S. is in economic competition with Europe and China, he said.

“This is an American priority,” Obama said. “It’s an economic imperative.”

Source: Bloomberg

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Champion Investment in Head Start as a Window of Opportunity for Vulnerable Children

Right now, more than 6,343,000 American children under 6 live in poverty.

For a million of them, Head Start and Early Head Start offer a Window of Opportunity. Quality early education, health screening and family support give these children the start they need for success in school and life. In time, investments in them are returned sevenfold to society through increased earnings and decreased grade repetition, special education, welfare dependency, and crime.

But there are more than 5 million children that Head Start doesn’t reach. Without early intervention they may never have a Window of Opportunity, and they’ll enter school hungry and unprepared.

Source: The White House

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White House American Jobs Act Call with Secretary Arne Duncan and Jon Carson | The White House

On Friday, October 21 at 5:15p.m. EDT, please join Secretary Duncan from the Department of Education and Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, for a conference call about the American Jobs Act.

This call is off the record and not for press purposes.

Call information

Date: Friday, October 21st

Time: 5:15p.m. EDT

Call-in number:(800) 230-1074

Title: White House American Jobs Act Call with Secretary Duncan

Source: The White House

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Proclamation for Release – National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, 2011


Across America, thousands of courageous children fight pediatric cancer each year, facing life‑threatening battles that would challenge men and women of any age.  They are cared for by loving families, friends, and communities who band together to support children in times of great need.  From raising money for research and hospital stays to offering compassionate assistance to families who have lost loved ones, Americans are working every day to combat childhood cancer.

Today, research advances have made pediatric cancer more treatable than ever before.  The five‑year survival rate for young patients has risen to 80 percent in the past half century, but serious challenges remain.  Children who survive cancer frequently struggle with significant complications later in life and researchers are working to develop treatments specifically for pediatric cancer.  We still know too little about the causes in young people, and cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for children in America under the age of 15.

Source: The White House

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