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Something Better for My Children: How Head Start Has Changed the Lives of Millions of Children Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1 edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452278473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452278479
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,642,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Remember the War on Poverty? Lyndon Johnson declared it in 1965, even as that other war in Vietnam was escalating under his stewardship. Thirty years later, we have a memorial in Washington, D.C., to remind us of one war and the Head Start program to remind us of the other. Something Better for My Children is Los Angeles Times reporter Kay Mills's account of Head Start's first three decades. Mills begins with Sargent Shriver, then the head of the Office of Economic Opportunity, and chronicles his efforts to get news of the program out into the communities that would most benefit from it via a good-old-girl's network of society women, politicians' wives, and even the First Lady, herself. She discusses the initial popularity of the program among liberals and conservatives alike and describes the roadblocks it met along the way.

But Head Start's history is only part of what interests Mills; in the course of writing this book, she has visited Head Start programs all over the country, from urban Minneapolis to rural California. At a time when all government-funded social programs are increasingly coming under fire, Mills uses firsthand accounts of the people whose lives have been shaped and changed by Head Start in its defense. There are the children, who received not only academic training but basic health services as well, and the parents, many of whom were inspired to improve their own lives by their involvement with the program. Though Mills is forthright about the problems that afflict Head Start today, such as staff shortages and varying quality from center to center, in her view, the benefits far outweigh the obstacles. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Head Start was established in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson as part of his War on Poverty, which, according to Mills (This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), "turned out to be a skirmish in what should have been a lifelong, countrywide crusade but never was." Designed as a development program for preschoolers, Head Start has the mission to prepare poor children for elementary school by teaching them skills and providing access to basic health-care services. Mills visited several thriving Head Start centers, including one on a Montana Indian reservation and another that assists children of California migrant workers. And for a school year, she tracked the children's progress at the Head Start Center in Watts Tower, Los Angeles. In addition to recounting success stories of the youngsters she observed, Mills draws on studies to provide a history of the effectiveness of the 30-year program and points out areas that need improvement, such as better teacher training and more parental involvement. This comprehensive study is objective and carefully researched.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By prstotz@juno.com on October 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Mills does a wonderful job of giving an inside picture of Project head Start. In this book she follows a group of children through the entire program year. She tells the story of Head Start in a very realistic way. I am an education coordinator for Head Start in a Michigan program and felt that her depiction of the program rang true. She also offerred me insight into how other Head Start programs are working on the challenges that face all of us. One of my favorite parts was her description of President Johnson's role in the creation of Head Start as well as his visits to a center that was near the LBJ ranch. She makes the progam come alive through the people who work in it and the children who are served by it. Great book.
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