George Bush photo

Proclamation 6140—25th Anniversary of Head Start, 1990

May 24, 1990

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Since its inception 25 years ago, Head Start has helped to put millions of disadvantaged children on the path to success. Offering comprehensive health and nutrition programs, as well as educational and social services, Head Start helps to ensure that these children enter school ready to learn.

Too often, children from low-income families begin school with significant physical needs, as well as a lack of optimism and self-confidence. Head Start not only emphasizes proper nutrition and the early identification and treatment of health problems, but also offers disadvantaged children a variety of learning experiences designed to help them grow in curiosity and self-esteem. Promoting the intellectual and emotional growth of these children, as well as their physical well-being, Head Start has been a model for child development programs.

Head Start has effectively included children with disabilities and assisted them in obtaining the social and cognitive skills needed for achievement in school. Currently, more than 13 percent of Head Start participants are children with disabilities. Head Start staff members cooperate with other community agencies as they work to meet the special needs of these children.

An essential element of every Head Start program is the sustained involvement of parents. Because they are their children's first and greatest teachers, parents play a very important role in planning and implementing Head Start programs -- either through membership on Head Start Policy Councils or through participation in classroom activities. In fact, parents of present and former students constitute more than one-third of Head Start's paid staff.

While government leadership is important, the caring and dedication of parents and volunteers are the key to Head Start's success. Today there are more volunteers than enrolled children in Head Start programs, and there are eight times more volunteers than paid staff members. Thus, Head Start not only serves as a shining example of the good that can be accomplished by concerned individuals working together at the community level, but also demonstrates that income and life circumstances are not barriers to serving others. Disadvantaged children will continue to benefit as more doctors and dentists, speech and language therapists, psychologists, and other professionals lend their services to Head Start.

Because Head Start helps to ensure that children enter school eager and able to learn, strengthening and expanding this program is an important part of our national strategy to promote excellence in American education. Indeed, for fiscal year 1991, I have proposed a $500,000,000 increase in the budget for the Head Start program. These funds would allow us to serve up to 70 percent of eligible 4 year-olds before they start kindergarten.

The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 490, has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of the 25th anniversary of Head Start.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby urge all Americans to observe the 25th anniversary of Head Start with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities in recognition of all that this program has done and continues to do for low-income children and their families.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6140—25th Anniversary of Head Start, 1990 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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