Edward Zigler, a psychologist who helped design Head Start in the 1960s, died last week at the age of 88.

The debate over how much attention Head Start should give to academic skills was the topic of a forum in the second issue of Education Next, published in 2001. At the time, the Bush administration was attempting to shift the mission of Head Start so that it would do more to emphasize early literacy skills.

Edward Zigler explained, in an article he co-authored with Sally J. Styfco, that Head Start had always had both an academic component and a non-academic component, and the program was making efforts to address weaknesses in teacher training as well as curricula.

A recent New York Times article explored further changes to Head Start that have been made over the last decade that seem to be producing results.

The early history of Head Start is described here.

— Education Next

Last updated February 15, 2019