Box 3, Folder 17, Document 85

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Economic Cpportunity Act

The blight of poverty requires priority attention. It engages our hearts
and challenges our intelligence, It cannot and will not be treated lightly or
indifferently, or without the most searching examination of how best to
marshal the resources available to the Federal Government for combatting

At my direction, the Urban Affairs Council has been conducting an
intensive study of the nation's anti-poverty programs, of the way the anti-
poverty effort is organized and administered, and of ways in which it might be
made more effective.

That study is continuing. However, I can now announce a number
of steps I intend to take, as well as spelling out some of the considerations
that will guide my future recommendations.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 is now scheduled to expire on
June 30, 1$7¢, The present authorization for appropriations for the
Office of Economic Cpportunity runs only until June 30, 1969. I will ask
Congress that this authorization for appropriations be extended for another
year. Frior to the end of the Fiscal Year, I will send Congress a com-
prehensive proposal for the future of the poverty program, including
recommendations for revising and extending the Act itself beyond its
scheduled 1970 expiration,

How the work begun by CEO can best be carried forward is a subject on
which many views deserve to be heard -- both from within Congress, and
among those many others who are interested or affected, including especially
the poor themselves. Fy sending my proposals well before the Act's 1970
expiration, I intend to provide time for full debate and discussion,

In the maze of anti-poverty efforts, precedents are weak and knowledge
uncertain, These past years of increasing Federal involvement have
begun to make clear how vast is the range of what we do not yet know, and
how fragile are projections based on partial understanding. But we have
learned some lessons about what works and what does not, The changes I
Propose will be based on those lessons and those discoveries, and rooted
in a determination to press ahead with anti-poverty efforts even though
individual experiments have ended in disappointment.

From the experience of OFO, we have learned the value of having in
the Federal Government an agency whose special concern is the poor. We
have learned the need for flexibility, responsiveness, and continuing
innovation. We have learned the need for management effectiveness, Even
those most thoroughly committed to the goals of the anti-poverty effort
recognize now that much that has been tried has not worked.

The CEO has teen a valuetis,fount of ideas and enthusiasm, but it has
suffered from a confusion of roles,

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OEO's greatest value is as an initiating agency -- devising new proyrams
to help the poor, and serving as an "incubator" for these programs during
their initial, experimental phases. One of my aims is to free OEO itself
to perform these functions more effectively, by providing for a greater
concentration of its energies on its innovative role.

Last year, Congress directed that special studies be made by the
Executive Eranch of whether Head Start and the Job Corps should continue
to ke administered directiy by OEO, or whether responsibility should be
otherwise assigned,

Section 309 of the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 provides:

"The Fresident shall make a special study of whether
the responsibility for administering the Head Start
program established under the Economic Opportunity
Act of 1964 should continue to be vested in the Director
of the Cffice of Economic Cpportunity, should be
transferred to another agency of the Government, or
should be delegaied to another such agency pursuant

to the provisions of section 602(d) of the aforementioned
Econornic Opportunity Act of 1964, and shail submit
the findings of this study to the Congress not later than
March 1, 1969,"

I have today submitted this study to tne Congress. Meanwhile, under the

Executive authority provided by the Economic Opportunity Act, Ihave
~directed that preparations be made for the delegation of Head Start to the
Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Whether it should be

actually transferred is a question I will take up in my later, comprehensive
message, along with my proposals for a permanent status and organizational
structure for CEO, Fending a final decision by the Secretary of HEW

on where within the department responsibility for Head Start would be
lodged, it will be located directly within the Office of the Secretary.

In order to provide for orderly preparation, and to ensure that there
is no interruption of programs, I have directed that this delegation be
made effective July 1, 1969. By then the summer programs for 1969 will
all have been funded, and a new cycle will be beginning.

I see this delegation as an important element in a new national
commitment to the crucial early years of life,

Head Start is still experimental, Its effects are simply not known --
save of course where medical care and similar services are involved.
The results of a major national evaluation of the program will be available
this Spring, It must be said, however, that preliminary reports on this
study confirm what many have feared: the long term effect of Head Start
appears to be extremely weak. This must not discourage us. To the
contrary it only demonstrates the immense contribution the Head Start
program has made simply by having raised to prominence on the national
agenda the fact -- known for some time, but never widely recognized --
that the children of the poor mostly arrive at school age seriously
deficient in the ability to profit from formal education, and already
significantly behind their contemporaries. It also has been made
abundantly clear that our schools as they now exist are unable to overcome
this deficiency.

In this context, the Head Start Follow-Through Frogram already 4
delegated to HEW by OFO, assumes an even greater importance,



In recent years, enormous advances have been made in the understanding
of human development. We have learned that intelligence is not fixed at
birth, but is largely formed ty the environmental influences of the carly
formative years. It develops rapidly at first, and then more slowly; as
much of that development takes place in the first four years as in the next
thirteen. YV'e have learned further that environment has its grestest
impact on the development of intelligence when ihat development is proceeding
most rapidly -- that is, in those earliest years.

This means that many of the problems of poverty are traceable directly
to early childhood experience -- and that if we are to make genuine, long-
range progress, we must focus our efforts much more than heretofore
on those few years which may determine how far, throughout his later
life, the child can reach.

Recent scientific developments have shown that this process of early
childhood development poses more difficult problems than had earlier been
recognized -- but they also promise a real possibility of major breakthroughs
e0on in our understanding of this process. Ey plecing Head Start in the
Department of HEW, it will be possible to strengthen it by association with
a wide range of other early development programs within the department,
and also with the research programs of the National Institutes of Health,
the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Child
Health and Human Development.

Much of our knowledge is now, But we are not on that ground
absolved from the responsibility to respond to it. So crucial is the matter
of early growth that we must make a national commitment to providing

all American children an opportunity for healthful and stimulating
development during the first five years of life. In delegating Head Start
to the Department of HEW, I pledge myself to that commitment.

The Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 directed the Commissioner
of Education to study the Job Corps in relation to state vocational education
programs. I have directed the Secretaries of Labor and of Health,

Education, and Welfare, and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Manpower,
to work with the Acting Commissioner of Education in preparing sucha
report for submission to Congress at the earliest opportunity.

One of the priority aims of the new Administration is the development
by the Department of Labor of a comprehensive manpower program,
designed to make centrally available to the unemployed and the under-
employed a full range of Federal job training and placement services.
Toward this end, it is essential that the many Federal manpower programs
be integrated and coordinated,

Therefore, as a first step toward better program management, the
Job Corps will be delegated to the Department of Labor.

For the Department, this will add another important manpower service
component. For the Job Corpsmen, it will make available additional
training and service opportunities. From the standpoint of program
management, it makes it possible to coordinate the Job Corps with other
manpower services, especially vocational education, at the point of

The Department of Labor already is deeply involved in the recruitment,
counseling and placement of Job Corpsmen. It refers 80 percent of all
male and 45 percent of all female enrollees; it provides job market
information, and helps locate Job Corpsmen in the areas of greatest



This delegation will also be made effective on July 1, 1969; and the
Departinents of Interior and Agriculture will coniinue to, have operating
responsibility for the Job Corps centers concerned primarily with

I have directed that preparations be made for the transfer of two other
programs from GEC to the Department of Eealth, Education, and Welfare;
Comprehensive Health Centers, which provide health service to the
residents of poor neighborhoods, and Foster Grandparents program. In
my judgment, these can be better administered at present, or in the near
future, within the structure of the Department,

In making these changes, 1 recognize that innovation costs money ~~
and that if CEO is to continueits effectiveness as an innovating agency,
adequate funds must be made available on a continuing basis. Moreover,
it is my intent that Community Action Agencies can continue to be involved
in the operation of programs such as Head Start’at the local level, even
though an agency other than CEO has received such programs, by delegation
at the national level. It also is my intent that the vital Community Action
Frograms will be pressed forward, and that in the area of economic
development CEO will have an important role to play, in cooperation with
other agencies, in fostering community-based business development.

One of the principal aims of the Administration's continuing study of
the anti-poverty effort will be to improve its management effectiveness.
When poverty-fund monies are stolen, those hurt most are the poor --
whom the monies were meant to help. When programs are inefficiently
administered, those hurt most again are the poor. The public generally,
and the poor especially, have a right to demand effective and efficient
management, I intend to provide it.

I expect that important economies will result from the delegation of
the Job Corps to the Department of Labor, and we shall continue to strive
for greater efficiency, and especially for greater effectiveness in Head Start.

A Concentrated Management Improvement Program initiated in OEO

will be intensified, Under this program selected Community Action Agencies
will be required to take steps to devise improvements in such areas as
organizational structure, financial and accounting systems, personnel
training and work scheduling, Standards will be applied under the
"management improvement program'to evaluate the operations of Community
Action Agencies, We intend to monitor these programs actively in order

to ensure that they are achieving high-level effectiveness and that they are
being administered on an orderly basis.

In the past, problems have often arisen over the relationship of State,
county and local governments to programs administered by OEO. This
has particularly been the case where the State and local officials have
wanted to assume greater responsibility for the implementation of the
programs but for various reasons have been prevented from doing so.

I have assigned special responsibility for working out these problems
to the newly-created Office of Intergovernmental Relations, under the
supervision of the Vice Fresident.

I have directed the Urban Affairs Council to keep the anti-poverty
effort under constant review and evaluation, seeking new ways in which
the various departments can help and better ways in which their efforts
can be coordinated.

My comprehensive recommendations for the future of the poverty
program will be made after the Urban Affairs Council's own initial study
is completed, and after I have reviewed the Comptroller General's study
of OEO ordered by Congress in 1967 and due fox sulsmission next month,


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Meanwhile, I would stress this final thought: If we are to make the
tmiost of experimental programs, we must frankly recognize thcir
experimental nature and frankly acknowledge whatever shortcomings they
develop. To do so is not to bslittle the experiment, but to advance its
essential purpose: that of finding new ways, better ways, of making
progress in areas still inadequately understood.

We often can learn more from a program that fails to achieve its purpose
than from one that succeeds, If we apply those lessons, then even the
"failure" will have made a significant contribution to our larger purposes,

I urge all those involved in these experimental programs to bear this
in mind--- and to remember that one of the primary goals of this
Administration is to expand our knowledge of how best to make real
progress against those social ills that have so stubbornly defied solution.
We do not pretend to have all the answers. We are determined to find as
many as we can.

The men and women who will be valued most in this administration
will be those -who understand that not every experiment succeeds, who do
not cover up failures but rather lay apen problems,frankly and construc-
tively, so that next time we will know how to do better.

In this spirit, I am confident that we can place our anti-poverty
efforts on a secure footing -- and that as we continue to gain in understanding

of how to master the difficulties, we can move forward at an accelerating



February 18, 1969,


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