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Head Start Doesn’t Work

Home - by - January 14, 2013 - 13:30 America/New_York - 15 Comments

Heritage

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released its latest batch of Head Start data, revealing, once again, that its students are receiving far less than a “head start.”

The study, which was finally released the weekend before Christmas after more than a year’s delay, examines the third-grade outcomes of two groups of Head Start students: those who began the program at age three and another who began at age four.

In 2010, HHS released a similar report looking at first-grade outcomes. Both studies show similar results: Not only does Head Start have no impact on children’s academic outcomes, but it also has little to no impact on other measures of child well-being and, in some cases, even has some negative impacts.

In a newly released paper, Heritage’s Lindsey Burke and David Muhlhausen discuss the findings, summarized as follows:

  • Cognitive development. Of 11 measures of cognitive ability—including reading, language, and math ability—access to Head Start made no difference for either three- or four-year-old students on any outcomes.
  • Social-emotional development. Of 19 measures of social-emotional development—such as aggression, hyperactive behavior, and conduct problems—for the three-year-old cohort, access to Head Start was connected to a slight benefit in “social skills and positive approaches to learning,” as reported by parents, but it had no impact on any of the other outcomes. For four-year-olds, Head Start was associated with a small decrease in aggressive behavior but also appeared to be significantly linked to harmful impacts, including higher teacher reports of “an unfavorable impact on the incidence of children’s emotional symptoms,” as well as poorer peer relations.
  • Child health outcomes. Of five measures of health outcomes, Head Start made no difference for either group, including no impact on “receipt of dental care, health insurance coverage, and overall child health status being excellent or good.”
  • Parenting outcomes. Of the 10 measures of parental outcomes, Head Start appeared to have only one benefit for each group. Parents of the three-year-old cohort reported higher levels of authoritative parenting, and parents of the four-year-old cohort reported spending more time with their children.

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» 15 Comments

  1. HooHooNayNay

    January 14th, 2013

    Head start is free day care. The program here in town saw a high rate of kids being drugged with Benadryl so that they would appear developmentally delayed and gain prioritized placement. It usually knocked the kids completely out cold and thus triggered the B.S. sensors of the testing administrators.

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  2. eternal cracker p

    January 14th, 2013

    Since Head Start began, more than $180 billion taxpayer dollars have been spent to fund it—and Congress is currently contemplating allocating millions of extra dollars to the program through the supplemental aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims.

    Why they gotta go and steal my thunder? I was going to say it’s a failure because it’s underfunded. But they were already onto me.

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  3. But......But....... But.........

    January 14th, 2013

    It’s a government program. It has to work.

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  4. thirdtwin

    January 14th, 2013

    So this report comes out the day before Congress votes on the Hurricane Sandy Pork bill, which includes $25 million more for Head Start? Hmmm…

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  5. Some-1 be responsible

    January 14th, 2013

    HooHooNayNay is right. It’s day care for children of people who don’t go to work.

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  6. cfm990

    January 14th, 2013

    It’s a great success. You just have to replace the word education, with indoctrination.

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  7. Ohio Dan

    January 14th, 2013

    So let me get this straight. A government that can’t find its ass with both hands is taking over the job of irresponsible parents that spend too much time getting ass and sitting on their ass. You’re telling me it doesn’t work? I feel like such an ass. Something stinks in our government. Smells like … I’m not going to say it again.

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  8. Maudie N Mandeville

    January 14th, 2013

    1) Parent(s) in the plural doesn’t exist in black culture, especially for those attending Head Start day care.
    2) Baby mamas are too busy trying to attract their next baby’s daddy down at the club on Fri, Sat and Sun nights to give a shit about Amnesia’s and Wikipedia’s upbringing.
    3)Speak to these ‘teachers’ at Head Start and you find, despite their age, they are still frequenting the same club as baby mama.

    This kind of welfare is a disease.

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  9. bitterclinger

    January 14th, 2013

    When Virginia’s newest senator, Timmy “The Eyebrow” Kaine (blech), was gubnah and had us millions in the red, he insisted VA start a mandatory pre-K, his own little Head Start fiefdom, funded to the tune of millions. He and the execrable Mark Warner (D)umbass, are my “senatorial representatives.”

    *sigh*

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  10. Zilla

    January 14th, 2013

    What a shocka! Little kids do better emotionally when they are home with mom than when handed over to the state. Who’da thunk it? Oh yeah, non-leftists woulda thunk it!

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  11. Stirrin the B.S.

    January 14th, 2013

    Liberal Logic (an oxymoron, I know) 101:

    Intentions trump results EVERY time. Ergo, Head Start is a smashing success.

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  12. MrBlonde

    January 14th, 2013

    But, the Head Starters can put a condom on a cucmber in under 3 seconds.
    They also show remarkable willingness to out their parents for not using the recycling bin.

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  13. Tim

    January 14th, 2013

    “Mmm mmm mmm Barack Hussein Obama mmm mmm mmm.”

    It’s not supposed to work! Hello? (tap, tap, tap)

    Anybody out there?

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  14. RosalindJ

    January 14th, 2013

    Head start is not just free day care – it’s expensive day care. It seems to attract a commensurate level of competency for the workers too.

    O’Malley (of MD, with preezy ambitions of his own) shoved through a mandatory kindergarten program too. Because if there’s an involved parent around, they must not be let to interfere with government programming.

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  15. Tim

    January 14th, 2013

    Hell, 35 years ago (pre Martin O’Malley) Maryland tried to drug any kid that tried to think for itself or had an active imagination.

    One of mine was scolded for being able to read before it started school.

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