A Passion for Early Education

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Science  19 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6045, pp. 957-958
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6045.957

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Joan Lombardi, the deputy assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has served under all three Democratic presidents since Lyndon Johnson, whose domestic policy agenda laid the cornerstone for some of the programs she now oversees, notably Head Start (see p. 956). But she says it's the second part of her title—interdepartmental liaison for early childhood development—that was the biggest drawing card this time around. The phrase, she says, reflects President Barack Obama's endorsement of the idea that "health and education go together." The two departments are expected shortly to lay down the rules for the Early Learning Challenge, a new $500 million competition that is intended to improve the current patchwork of early education services across the country. Science interviewed her on 30 June.