|Study: Head Start Provides Mixed Results|
|posted by: Guest contributor | August 10, 2015, 05:42 PM|
By Conner Dunleavy
For nearly 50 years, the Head Start program has been providing free preschool programs for low-income Americans. Since the 1960’s the program has seen some 30 million American children pass through it according to an analysis by the Hechinger Report.
According to a recent study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Head Start is producing mixed results. The program has increased some reading skills, but did not improve a child's performance in the math or science fields. This lack of marked improvement seems to demonstrate that the program–with a $7 Billion annual budget–has been falling short of expectations.
Though Head Start is roughly 80% federally funded, the preschool centers in which students are actually taught are outsourced through the Department of Health and Human Services. Hechinger reports:
“Some programs are stellar examples of everything a preschool should be. Others are mediocre or worse. Criminal charges – usually for embezzlement – have been filed against a few Head Start administrators over the years, adding fuel to some critics’ complaints that Head Start is poorly supervised.”
The analysis also showed that any educational benefit resulting from Head Start fades in students over the course of several years, particularly among minority students.
AAE members are split on the value of universal preschool. As advocates continue to mention early intervention among young students, it will be interesting to see policymakers propose additional effective options.
Do you believe Head Start works?
Tell us in the comments below!
As the 2015 summer intern for AAE, Conner supports the communications and marketing team in the DC AAE office. From the class of 2017, he intends to graduate from the University at Albany with a Bachelor's Degree in European History and a Minor in Education.