Head Start, which serves nearly 1 million low-income children, is the nation’s largest federally sponsored early childhood education program.
In April 2005, approximately 776,000 young people with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 25 were receiving federal Supplemental Security Income benefits. Individuals who began receiving these benefits before age 18 were expected to stay on the disability rolls for an average of 27 years.
A postsecondary credential has become increasingly important in the labor market, and college attendance has grown. Unfortunately, college completion remains less common, particularly in community colleges, which serve many low-income and academically underprepared students who often need remedial (developmental) courses.
Low-performing high schools, particularly those serving low-income communities and students of color, are often characterized by high absentee and course failure rates, substantial dropout rates, and — even for graduates — inadequate preparation for postsecondary education and the labor market.
It is important that children who are learning to read be exposed to high-quality, research-based curricula, but it is also essential that teachers be well versed in the instructional practices that promote early literacy (see the description of Reading First for more on this topic).
Public housing developments are among the most economically challenged neighborhoods in the United States. In fact, many public housing residents face obstacles to employment even beyond those normally experienced by other low-income people.