Charles Eugene Beatty
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Charles Eugene Beatty (1909–1998) was and American track and field athlete and educator.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Beatty attended Northeastern High School and the Michigan State Normal College (which later became Eastern Michigan University). At Northeastern High, Beatty was the first schoolboy to win four events at consecutive Michigan High School Athletic Association track and field championships (1927 and 1928). During the 1927 season, Beatty tied a national interscholastic record for the 100-yard dash and established a new USA standard in the 220-yard low-hurdles. For his achievements, Beatty was named the 1928 Michigan High School Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
On separate occasions, during the 1931 and '32 season - while competing for Michigan State Normal College - Beatty clocked a world-leading time in the 400-meter hurdle event. Beatty also won the 400 meter intermediate hurdles at the 1932 National Collegiate Athletic Association championships. Beatty was leading the 400 hurdles during the 1932 United States Olympic Trials when - at the final barrier - he tripped and fell.
In 1933, upon graduation from MSNC, Beatty entered the field of education; in 1940, he became the first African-American school principal in Michigan. Beatty is perhaps best known for his role in pioneering the Head Start Program in the United States.
As part of a program spearheaded by noted education specialist David Weikart, a committee was formed to study the high dropout rate among black children in a racially divided area of Ypsilanti, Michigan. Beatty was the Principal of Ypsilanti's Perry Elementary School; he and a group of colleagues - including Weikart - initiated the Perry Preschool Project in 1962. Among the project's findings (preschoolers compared to the control group) was the correlation between attending a preschool program, and the measure of success in later life.
According to the study, students that attended preschool scored higher on standardized intelligence tests while demonstrating greater scholastic achievement. The former preschool students also experienced lower rates of delinquency and incidents of criminal behavior; their rate of employment and college attendance was nearly double that of the control group.
Beatty was inducted to the Eastern Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976 and the Michigan Education Hall of Fame, in 1985. Beatty worked his entire career for the Ypsilanti school district, retiring in 1974; he died February 26, 1998 in Ypsilanti.