January 17, 2013

KIDS GET TOO MUCH SCHOOLING, NOT TOO LITTLE:

Head Start: Still Useless : Pat Moynihan understood the problem years ago. (Michael G. Franc, 1/17/13, National Review)

What is it about the Head Start program that prevents presumably responsible adults from doing what's best for poor children? What prompts this question is the reaction to a scientifically rigorous evaluation of Head Start released last month. Conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, the study demonstrates (once again) that this Great Society program just doesn't work.

This time, researchers expanded on previous tracking studies of kids in Head Start, which had stopped at the first-grade level. By measuring the program's impact on 5,000 three- and four-year-old children all the way through third grade, researchers have given lawmakers a state-of-the-art assessment of the long-term impact of Head Start, one that ought to guide them as they ponder allocating additional billions of dollars to the program.

The findings are most discouraging. "By the end of 3rd grade," the study's authors report, "there were very few impacts found . . . in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health, and parenting practices." The researchers measured a total of 142 outcomes in these four domains and concluded that, within a few years, access to Head Start had no measurable impact on all but six outcomes. Moreover, even in those six, "there was no clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children."

On the other hand, it does provide make-work jobs, so it's kind of a model for the Right's vision of an entitlement free economy.

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Posted by at January 17, 2013 8:47 AM
  
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