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Is Head Start Working for Low-Income Latino Kids? Depends on the State

NBC News

Quality preschool can greatly benefit low-income children and families, yet the three states with the greatest numbers of Latino residents fell below national averages on enrollment and other measures in a state-by-state report of Head Start programs.

On some measures, though, the states beat the national average.

The evaluation by the National Institute for Early Education Research, NIEER, and Rutgers Graduate School of Education found great inconsistency among states in Head Start and Early Head Start programs, products of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Head Start is a government funded preschool program that provides education, nutrition and other services for low income children. Studies have shown there are positive effects to quality early education.

Head Start serves children ages 3 to 5 years (the two years before kindergarten) and Early Head Start serves infants and toddlers until age 3 as well as pregnant mothers. Kids in families living below the federal poverty level, in foster care or in families on public assistance or who are homeless qualify for the program.