Head Start Revealed

Despite the obvious effort to delay and conceal the disappointing results from the official and high quality evaluation of Head Start, the Wall Street Journal shines the light on the issue in today’s editorial.  DC’s manipulating scumbags might want to take note that efforts to hide negative research might just draw more attention.  It’s comforting to see that the world may sometimes look more like Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment than Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The Journal reveals that Head Start supporters have not only ignored the latest study, but they are trying to sneak an extra $100 million for Head Start into the relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy.  They also note that the most recent disappointing Head Start result is just the latest in a string of studies failing to find benefits from the program despite a cumulative expenditure of more than $180 billion.

And then the Journal finishes with this:

The Department of Health and Human Services released the results of the most recent Head Start evaluation on the Friday before Christmas. Once again, the research showed that cognitive gains didn’t last. By third grade, you can’t tell Head Start alumni from their non-Head Start peers.

President Obama has said that education policy should be driven not by ideology but by “what works,” though we have to wonder given his Administration’s history of slow-walking the release of information that doesn’t align with its agenda.

In 2009, the Administration sat on a positive performance review of the Washington, D.C., school voucher program, which it opposes. The Congressionally mandated Head Start evaluation put out last month was more than a year late, is dated October 2012 and was released only after Republican Senator Tom Coburn and Congressman John Kline sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting its release along with an explanation for the delay. Now we know what was taking so long.

Like so many programs directed at the poor, Head Start is well-intentioned, and that’s enough for self-congratulatory progressives to keep throwing money at it despite the outcomes. But misleading low-income parents about the efficacy of a program is cruel and wastes taxpayer dollars at a time when the country is running trillion-dollar deficits.

A government that cared about results would change or end Head Start, but instead Congress will use the political cover of disaster relief to throw more good money after proven bad policy.

[UPDATE: And here is a good follow-up op-ed on the study by Lindsey Burke on the Fox News web site.]

3 Responses to Head Start Revealed

  1. I find that the history of Head Start made far more sense once I knew Professor Mastery Learner that became Outcomes Based Education, Benjamin Bloom, was also the father of Head Start.

    I also found it interesting that Head Start officially added a social and emotional learning component last year just like the real Common Core implementation where it is coming in as PBIS under RTI and the federal disabilities law, a Positive School Climate executive order, and many of those NCLB waivers to the states.

    That SEL provision to Head Start also dovetails to the timing of AdvancED, the accreditation holding company, beginning to accredit early learning programs. Since the K-12 Quality Standards are all about the physical, emotional, and social needs of students with no mention of intellectual, we can expect something comparable for the little tykes. That’s a lot of years of affective manipulation as part of the student Growth and achievement being measured.

    Am I the only one who tracks back to the definitions of the terms being used? It puts the Common Core in a completely different but accurate light than the hype.

  2. […] According to Jay P. Greene in Head Start Revealed: […]

  3. […] of a recently published large RCT on a state-funded pre-K program in Tennessee. Consistent with a previous, nationally representative RCT of Head Start, this study found that students given access to government-funded pre-school by lottery initially […]

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