Washington, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third district marked the anniversary of “Project Head Start” Monday, launched 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Since its creation, Head Start has provided early childhood education to more than 30 million children from working and low-income families.
“Helping our children succeed begins by putting them on the right path at the earliest ages. For 50 years, Head Start has helped support hard-working families who are trying to get ahead by provided young children with the support they need during critical formative years,” Congressman Luján said. “Every child in New Mexico and throughout our nation deserves a quality education and Head Start has contributed greatly to that effort by ensuring that children have access to comprehensive preschool programs.”
Head Start is a comprehensive program that provides family engagement and access to health and social services, targeted toward children of families earning below the Federal Poverty Level or who have a disability. Head Start serves over one million individuals annually, including more than 7,500 in New Mexico. Results show that Head Start alumni are more likely to finish high school and go on to college.
“Early childhood education is the foundation in a child’s life,” said Agnes Romero, a Head Start teacher in Nambé with over two decades of experience educating young children. “I believe in this program, as it sets a path for the child’s future. This is a program that really works.”
“I commend educators like Agnes who are helping to develop the next generation of leaders and ensuring that children, regardless of their family’s income level, have the opportunity to learn at an early age,” added Luján. “It is vital that we provide Head Start with the resources necessary to ensure that our children do not fall behind from the very beginning. Unfortunately, the Republican budget cuts Head Start, leaving tens of thousands of children without access to the resources it provides during a critical point in their lives. As a result of the sequester we have seen Head Start facilities in New Mexico close their doors. A high-quality early education is one of the best investments we can make in a child’s future, and I will continue to fight to fund Head Start and provide greater access for New Mexico’s children.”