Government admits Head Start fails

Government admits Head Start fails

January 20th, 2013 in Opinion Free Press

You've been lied to. Sold a bill of goods. Had the wool pulled over your eyes.

The government is the culprit. And a lot of people in the media were in on the racket, as well.

Now, finally, the truth is out for everyone to see. There's no way to deny the fact: Head Start, the government's preschool program for poor children, does not work.

Says who? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that's who.

HHS recently released likely the most in-depth, scientifically sound study of Head Start in the program's history - a study that the Brookings Institution called "one of the most ambitious, methodologically rigorous, and expensive federal program evaluations carried out in the last quarter century."

The study found that "by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts [as a result of the Head Start program]." Out of the 142 outcomes measured in four categories - cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices - Head Start produced no measurable patterns of beneficial outcomes for its students. Zero.

Upon reviewing the findings of the study, even the liberals at Brookings admitted, "There is no measurable advantage to children in elementary school of having participated in Head Start.

Further, children attending Head Start remain far behind academically once they are in elementary school. Head Start does not improve the school readiness of children from low-income families."

The study, which was intentionally released the Friday before Christmas to ensure that a minimal number of news outlets would report on the government's embarrassing findings about Head Start, is the latest (but certainly the most conclusive) in a long line of research indicating the program's lack of success. As far back as 1969, only four years after the launch of Head Start, government and academic studies have doubted the long-term value of the taxpayer-funded program.

Despite evidence that indicated the program had little or no lasting educational, emotional or socioeconomic benefits for children, the program has continually received tax dollars - $180 billion since its creation, according to Heritage Foundation wonk Michael G. Franc.

This year Head Start is scheduled to receive another $8 billion of taxpayers' money - more than $8,000 per child.

The federal government has admitted that Head Start doesn't work. America's most prestigious liberal think tank agrees that Head Start is a waste of money.

It is apparent that anyone who still believes that Head Start helps the children it serves in the long run or is a good investment of tax dollars is simply unwilling to accept the facts.

As painful as it may be to pull the plug on a program that is "for the kids," Congress should accept the truth that Head Start doesn't work and stop funding the failing program.

The sooner lawmakers quit wasting money on a program that doesn't help America's most at-risk children, the sooner they can begin considering alternatives that actually succeed.