Remembering the visionary architect of Head Start

A great man died last week. Jule Sugarman was 83. A half-century ago, he launched Head Start, a signature effort of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" that gave low-income preschoolers an extra boost as they started school through comprehensive early learning wrapped with social services. (Read the obituary in the New York Times.)

The question of how to break the cycle of poverty in families and communities is an enduring one. But over five decades, Head Start has had a profound impact in the lives of millions of children across the country, helping them achieve more and go further than their parents, and in turn creating a brighter outlook for their children. 

Today nearly 900,000 children go through Head Start across the country every year. In the District, more children than ever are now getting a Head Start thanks to blended funding for Pre-K in DC Public Schools -- a boon that we hope will translate to higher graduation and college success rates down the road. As one of the first states to implement blended funding, D.C. has the opportunity to serve as a model for the nation. (Read more about blended funding in HyeSook's Q&A with the Post's Wonkbook blog here.)

Sugarman knew that to tackle a massive problem like poverty, we had to start small. By focusing on our youngest and most vulnerable children, we could lift generations. This is the same thinking behind our High 5 for DC's Kids campaign. If you have not done so already, please take a moment to view our platform and sign on here