Failing Project Head Start Needs No More Funding

Obama ThinkingCredit: Pete SouzaOn Wednesday, The Center for American Progress released their proposal to increase funding for the already failing Head Start Project. The progessive thinktank is lobbying to increase funding from 7,200 dollars per student to 10,000 dollars per student. That’s nearly 40 percent more than what we're spending now.

As a part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” the Office of Economic Opportunity launched Project Head Start, which aimed to "boost school readiness" for 3 and 4-year-old children from low-income families.

In 2010 The Department of Health and Human Services found that for students going from kindergarten to first grade:

With only a few exceptions, teacher and classroom characteristics did not differ significantly between children in the Head Start group and those in the control group.

Impacts at the end of kindergarten and first grade:

This pattern of limited cognitive impacts in the school years may suggest that the magnitude of the initial cognitive impacts may not have been sufficiently potent for the early gains Head Start children made to be sustained as they developed and moved into the elementary school years.

The Department followed up with the study observing Head Start participants and their control group counter parts through the end of the third grade and found:

Key findings:

In summary, there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices.

Impact on Children’s Cognitive Development:

There is clear evidence that Head Start had a statistically significant impact on children’s language and literacy development while children were in Head Start... However, these early effects dissipated in elementary school, with only a single impact remaining at the end of 3rd grade for children in each age cohort: a favorable impact for the 4-year-old cohort (ECLS-K Reading) and an unfavorable impact for the 3-yearold cohort (grade promotion).

3-year-old Cohort:

At the end of 3rd grade, there was suggestive evidence of an unfavorable impact—the parents of the Head Start group children reported a significantly lower child grade promotion rate than the parents of the non-Head Start group children.

That means spending almost 40 percent more per participant to leave our children’s circumstances unchanged or even worse than when they when they first entered school.

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  • Sevo||

    "That means spending almost 40 percent more per participant to leave our children’s circumstances unchanged or even worse than when they when they first entered school."

    Hey, and increase of 100% in "intent" for only 40% more money! Cheap at twice the price!

  • Matrix||

    If they only had more money, they would have succeeded. We can never spend too much on our children's eduction, and we're never close to enough! What kind of monster are you, intern, that you would deprive our children of the RIGHT to a free indoctrination education (bought and paid for by taxpayers)? You should immediately report to one of our reeducation centers.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But...but...if we get rid of Head Start, how can guilt-filled White liberals buy indulgences from the secular Church of Government?

  • Fluffy||

    The really offensive thing is that Head Start is one of those programs where progressives hide their true intent behind a politically more popular statement of intent.

    The real purpose of Head Start is to get kids into school earlier to provide free day care to single moms.

    That's it.

    They're committed to arguing that it's for the cognitive benefit of the kids, but it's really to try to help get these moms back into the workforce by providing warehousing for their kids. That's why they press to universalize it ("Fully fund Head Start!") even though it doesn't work.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You're being way too charitable, Fluffy. If Head Start was about getting moms back into the workforce, it wouldn't go hand in hand with all the other welfare goodies that allow these baby mommas to afford to sit at home all day, eating government cheese, watching the Maury show, and smoking menthols.

  • Torontonian||

    What? The real purpose is free daycare for single moms?

    And all this time I thought it was just plain old rent-seeking by the teachers unions.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Head Start has many progressive intentions, but they all lead to the intentions of dependency.

  • Michael||

    The real purpose of Head Start is to get kids into school earlier to provide free day care to single moms.

    I see it as more of an educational system Potemkin Village. If you compare Head Start against the whole of the general elementary curriculum you'll find that the former is typically staffed by young idealists busy implementing whatever radical new Italian educational approach is fashionable at the moment that they just received their degree in and whose classrooms are clean and impeccably-curated. Check out any government school promotional materials (seriously, they exist) and you'll invariably find that they project a laser-like focus on Head Start. None are ever geared at, say, fourth of fifth grade level schooling because the administrators are full aware of what a clusterfuck that is by the time kids make it to that level and wouldn't dare publish it in materials geared toward keeping new parents from getting the hell out of Dodge.

  • ||

    That means spending almost 40 percent more per participant to leave our children’s circumstances unchanged or even worse than when they when they first entered school

    We just aren't spending enough.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Mo' better spending.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Americans would be happier if they were poorer, so let's help them achieve that happiness.

  • Alice Bowie||

    "3-year-old Cohort"

    Includes affluent kids as well as kids in paid montessori and schools of the like.

    I've seen head start help a lot of single moms and their kids.

    Yes, it does BOTH, a "head start" for kids as well as day care for a Mom that can work.

    It beats just having them stay home.

  • Sevo||

    Alice Bowie| 2.11.13 @ 5:35PM |#
    "I've seen head start help a lot of single moms and their kids."

    Alice,
    If moms want child-care, they can pay for it.
    Or you can.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Alice is already paying for their child-care, and so am I, and maybe so are you.

    The Progressives's political machine is fueled by their support in exchange for sparing them the "indignity" of having to come, cap-in-hand, to a be-monocled, top-hat wearer and ask for a donation...or even worse...the indignity of hard work and sacrifice to provide for your 7 sevens from 7 brothers.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *7 kids from 7 brothers

  • Generic Stranger||

    RACIST INCEST! :P

  • ||

    HM,(standard disclaimer from me, I am willing to be corrected if I am mistaken), the information that I have seen indicates that children who have benefited from Head Start have done so according to the extent that their parents (in nearly every case mothers)get involved in their childrens' education. This suggests, to me, at least, that the mothers are learning as well.

    This leads me to believe that if liberals were truly interested in the education of these children they would not only take control of the children but the mothers as well.

    The fact is that liberals are not willing to face the ultimate consequences of their beliefs, which is that the the whole family needs to have its behavior modified to achieve the desired ends.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That's absolutely true. Parental involvement is the number one factor in early childhood education.

    I disagree, however, that liberals/progressives aren't willing to own up to their beliefs. The whole Great Society was a grand experiment at social engineering. As we know, it was a horrific failure, as any attempt to control a dynamic and deterministic system is folly that borders on hubris.

  • ||

    Yes, but, in the end, part of that failure was the failure of the liberals/progressives to face the end logic of their authoritarianism which would be to totally institutionalize their charges regardless of their ages.

    Of course, the full logic would require the compulsory abortion and sterilization of the inferior poor - something that a non-trivial number of liberals/progressive acquaintances of mine favor - but that is something that none of them want to acknowledge publicly.

  • ||

    The "inferior poor" is a concept that liberals/progressives have.

    I do support that concept, hence my dislike for the programs that liberals/progressives advocate.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    I do not support that concept...

    Sorry about that, but with that correction, it means something completely different.

  • Sevo||

    Heroic Mulatto| 2.11.13 @ 5:45PM |#
    "Alice is already paying for their child-care, and so am I, and maybe so are you."
    And if Alice is in love with it, Alice can pay my share.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "3-year-old Cohort"

    Includes affluent kids as well as kids in paid montessori and schools of the like.

    No it doesn't you stupid cunt.

    The Head Start Impact Study was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 84 grantee/delegate agencies and included nearly 5,000 newly entering, eligible 3- and 4-year-old children who were randomly assigned to either: (1) a Head Start group that had access to Head Start program services or (2) a control group that did not have access to Head Start, but could enroll in other early childhood programs or non-Head Start services selected by their parents. Data collection began in fall 2002 and continued through 2006, following children from program application through the spring of their 1st grade year.2
  • Alice Bowie||

    (2) a control group that did not have access to Head Start, but could enroll in other early childhood programs or non-Head Start services selected by their parents.

  • Sidd Finch||

    That means the control group is also poor kids eligible for government shit, you ignorant slut.

  • Generic Stranger||

    It's a sockpuppet. Sockpuppets are ugly and they can't read good.

  • Sevo||

    Generic Stranger| 2.11.13 @ 7:14PM |#
    "It's a sockpuppet. Sockpuppets are ugly and they can't read good."

    Ya know, I'm real tired of people simply claiming X is a sockpuppet.
    If you have evidence, let's see it. Otherwise, please put a sock in it.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Can't remember the article, but a while back 'she' broke character and admitted it. Otherwise, I wouldn't be calling it; I'm also someone skeptical about most sockpuppet claims.

  • Adam330||

    "eligible 3- and 4-year-old children who were randomly assigned to either:...."

    i.e. they had to be HM eligible, i.e. poor, to be in the study. there were no affluent kids in the control group.

  • Adam330||

    "I've seen head start help a lot of single moms and their kids."

    Show me a controlled study that shows this. Otherwise, bull.

  • Sevo||

    A330,
    Note that AB doesn't claim academic assistance. Instead, what AB is pitching is the 'free' child care that lets mom dump the kid off on someone else, supposedly to go to work.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But according to the New York Times, everybody knows pre-kindergarten education programs are phenomenally effective, and should have money thrown at them unquestioningly.

  • Brandybuck||

    Many private preschools ARE phenomenally effective! Throwing government into the mix just messes it all up, to the point that I sometimes wonder if that's the intent.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    They are effective to the extent that children can put up with government regulations that interfere with the children's experience. They do respond behaviorally to shit that seems constricting, and its downhill after that point.

  • Juice||

    Finland has some of the highest performing students in the world, usually in the top 5 depending on the metric. They don't start school at all until they're 7 years old.

  • Doctor Whom||

    In debates on education, you're not allowed to cite the experience of other countries, except in the very rare instances in which a cherry-picked datum appears to confirm what liberals want to believe.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Fair enough. I recently read a rather convincing article which explained that whatever metric that is used to calculate America's PISA scores is flawed,, and that American kids' ability Math and Science is actually much higher than is believed. Liberals have known this for years but continue to allow this urban myth in that it justifies throwing more money at schools; whereas Conservatives also don't challenge the test in that it supports their narrative of "bring back readin' ritin' and 'rithmatic, because Jesus."

  • Juice||

    So it's the same thing as the infant mortality rate?

  • ||

    HM, IIANM, one of the problems that face comparisons between achievement in the USA and other countries is that the comparison is between every American child in the age group and those children in other countries who have been streamed to the same academic level in those other countries.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Absolutely. Do you believe China is letting their special needs kids take those tests? We're talking about a country that selects kids at 3 years old, separates them from their family and puts them through an 18 hour training session, 7 days a week...just to earn face by winning some Gold medals at the Olympics.

  • ||

    Well, let's face the fact that Australia spends millions of dollars of their federal budget to win Gold medals at the Olympics, as well.

  • Sidd Finch||

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Many kids around the world who show lower than expected ability to mindlessly crunch numbers automatically get booted out of the system, never to have the opportunity to operate under the real world requirements of educated people.

  • Juice||

    Well, maybe they can rest assured that the education system in Finland is also totally socialized with an emphasis on equality for everyone.

  • ||

    I'm guessing in a hundred years Scandinavia becomes Ayn Rand's Anthem.

  • ||

    Actually, no, it won't. Children who have been determined to be unable to achieve the highest level are generally streamed out of going further in school and are selected to go to trade schools where they will learn to the trades that are considered within their abilities by the education experts.

  • ||

    Well those biases aren't going to confirm themselves.

  • Ted S.||

    Finnish kids (almost) all go into government-subsidized daycare, however.

  • Alice Bowie||

    This is one of those issues where' i'm perfectly a-ok for states to decide.

    If the citizens of the state don't want it, fine.
    If the citizens of another state want Head-start, that's fine too.

  • Sevo||

    Alice Bowie| 2.11.13 @ 6:09PM |#
    "This is one of those issues where' i'm perfectly a-ok for states to decide."

    Screw you.

  • ||

    Alice, there's a reason why no state has a "Head Start" program. That reason, deficit spending.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    That's why they press to universalize it ("Fully fund Head Start!") even though it doesn't work.

    Oddly enough, this is exactly what they were saying on Hipster Douchebag Focus Group a couple of days ago.

    "Every CIVILIZED MODERN NATION provides free child care for its citizens. And free unlimited health care! Republicans are just a bunch of savages!"

  • OldMexican||

    The progessive thinktank is lobbying to increase funding from 7,200 dollars per student to 10,000 dollars per student. That's nearly 40 percent more than what we're spending now.


    Hey! This is for the children, so don't make it about the numbers!

    Now, let's make it about the numbers because we need more funding - for the children!

  • steve walsh||

    You cretins, why do you hate poor, young children so?!?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I don't hate them. They go wonderfully with fava beans and a nice chianti.

  • Brandybuck||

    For $7200 you can send a student to a very nice private school. For $10000 you can send a student to a very nice exclusive private school. And for your preschoolers it will be a very nice Montessori education too.

    I know many purists have a problem with school vouchers, but at least it's better than just flushing our tax dollars down the toilet like we are with Head Start.

  • Jim Tom||

    What other job can you give to teachers who can only count to ten?

  • Sevo||

    Looks like the winner to me.

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