published Friday, November 18th, 2011

Tweaks won't fix unproductive Head Start

When a large, thorough study of Head Start discovered that the program just didn't work, it would have seemed obvious that it was time to halt federal funding for Head Start.

After all, the 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could find practically no academic or social benefit for children who participated in Head Start, which is geared toward 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families.

Whatever positive effects Head Start may have briefly had on children, those benefits virtually vanished by the end of the students' first-grade year, the study found.

Surely no one thinks such negligible benefits justify the nearly $200 billion that has been spent on the program since it began 46 years ago!

And to make matters worse, federal investigators looking into the Head Start program last year found a great deal of fraud. In a majority of the Head Start facilities that were targeted by a federal sting, children whose parents exceeded the program's income limits were nonetheless allowed to enroll. Workers at the facilities actually falsified information on income. Some families earning more than $110,000 were permitted to enroll their children, The New York Times reported.

But despite ineffectiveness and fraud, Head Start has continued to get billions of dollars annually from Washington -- with no end in sight.

President Barack Obama recently declared that stricter financing rules will be put in place for Head Start.

"If a program isn't giving children the support they need to be ready for school, then other organizations will be able to compete for the grant."

But where Head Start is concerned, that's a badly inadequate solution.

The federal government itself found that the program doesn't work. Shuffling around the money provided to Head Start won't fix anything.

And yet the president criticized Republicans who had attempted to cut the program. He said they were "trying to gut our investments in education."

A well-intended but failed program such as Head Start is not an "investment." It's a misuse of taxpayer dollars. It's time to end that waste.

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conservative said...

It took the federal government $200 billion dollars to find the program does not work!Then the committed socialist Obamination criticizes Republicans for attempting to cut the program, calling it an investment in education. No, it's an investment in a socialist baby-sitting state!

November 18, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.
proudmomma said...

First and foremost, Head Start works!!! HS has been here for 46 yrs because it does prepare children for school in all areas of development. I believe the study shows there is no major difference in children after the third grade, not the first grade. This is a wonderful thing!!! They (low income children) are not behind, they are with their peers.
HS is so much more than babysitting or a school. HS not only prepares children for school but also provides nutrition, health, mental health, dental, and family services for every family. Yes, there were some centers nation wide that commited fraud and I am upset with that fact as well. However, there are not too many companies or organizations that haven't, yet they are still funded. We can not judge every HS based on a few centers that made bad choices. This is based nationally, but locally we have some of the best HS in the state. Seq Valley HS has had the highest average scores statewide for the last 9 yrs. We should be supporting such an oranization, not tearing it down.

November 21, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.
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