Friday, January 13, 2012

Why Not Just Admit It's A Failure

Everyone loves Head Start. After all, those poor, unfortunate children shouldn't have to suffer educationally because their parents can't afford to send them to boarding school.

But it's a flop. It provides no lasting benefits to students. I mean, does it matter if Head Start kids are "with the pack" in 1st grade if they're again trailing the pack in 3rd grade and beyond?
“Head Start” has been the poster child of federal aid to education ever since the Lyndon Johnson administration introduced it as part of the Great Society. And for decades liberals have pointed to it as one of the great advances that the federal government has brought to education, and as evidence that creative social engineering by smart professional interventionists can change the world.

But a long-suppressed government report finally released by the Obama administration report is shaking the foundations of Head Start, and the news isn’t coming from right wing conservatives but from Joe Klein at Time magazine.
But let someone suggest cutting funding for Head Start....

7 comments:

mrelliott said...

It's validation of what teachers have known for a long time, that the main impact on children and their success in education is the home and family. We can try to substitute, and we do, by bringing into education what's missing at home, but when all is said and done, it may or may not have any affect.

Of course, it also depends on whether these programs are run well or not. When you have free government handouts, it can attract people who get into director positions and then have their hands in the cookie jar, figuratively speaking. I was part of an AmeriCorps program for two years. Very effectively run, but I saw and heard other AmeriCorps programs where money just seemed to strangely disappear, or could not be accounted for.

mazenko said...

It doesn't have a lasting impact on test scores after fourth grade. But they are more likely to graduate, more likely to attend college, less likely to commit crimes, less likely to do drugs, less likely to have teen pregnancies.

It's a complex system and not all is quantifiable by test scores. There is a time when you do something because it's the right thing for the kid at the time. Giving the kid the chance and the attention is infinitely better than doing nothing.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Head Start's one of leftidoms great success stories.

Not in its success in its stated goals of course but as a vehicle for displaying left wing compassion.

See, arguing for Head Start means that, not only do you care about little children but you care about poor, little children.

Conversely, if you're opposed to Head Start then you are indifferent to the plight of poor, little children. You cad.

You just can't put a price on that sort of self-righteousness and if you're spending other people's money, you don't have to worry about the price.

Darren said...

Mazenko, if what you say is true, then there could be some social value to the program. Have any evidence it's true?

Ellen K said...

Head Start is nothing more than a subsidized minority oriented urban centered daycare. Like Early childhood programs, they do little that impacts academic success. That same money would be better spent in downsizing elementary classes and providing cultural enrichment opportunities that would bring urban kids beyond the stark limitations of MTV and rap thug lifestyles.

Anonymous said...

You all do realize that Republican administrations, including both Bush administrations, were among those that contributed to the growth of Head Start ...

Specifically look up Dr. Wade Horn, undersecretary of HHS under both father and son.

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/olab/legislative/testimony/2005/fy2006_budget_statement.html

Darren said...

Oh, who's going to cut it, and be accused of forcing little poor kids of being condemned to lives of squalor, hard (if any) labor, and probably crime?