Head Start Programs Ineffective
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  1. #1
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Head Start Programs Ineffective

    Should Head Start programs continue to be funded if they are ineffective?

    Head Start is an $8 billion per year federal preschool program, designed to improve the kindergarten readiness of low-income children. Since its inception in1965, taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on the program.

    But HHS? latest Head Start Impact Study found taxpayers aren?t getting a good return on this ?investment.? According to the congressionally-mandated report, Head Start has little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of its participants. In fact, on a few measures, access to the program actually produced negative effects.

    The HHS? scientifically-rigorous study tracked 5,000 children who were randomly assigned to either a group receiving Head Start services or a group that did not participate in Head Start. It followed their progression from ages three or four through the end of third grade. The third-grade evaluation is a continuation to HHS? first-grade study, which followed children through the end of first grade.

    The first-grade evaluation found that any benefits the children may have accrued while in the Head Start program had dissipated by the time they reached first grade.

    The study also revealed that Head Start failed to improve the literacy, math and language skills of the four year-old cohort and had a negative impact on the teacher-assessed math ability of the three-year-old cohort.

    Based on this track record, HHS and Head Start devotees should not have been surprised to learn that the results of the third-grade evaluation were even worse. If the impacts of Head Start had all but disappeared by first grade, how could they suddenly reappear by the end of third grade?

    Not only were the third-grade evaluation results poor, so was the department?s handling of the study. HHS sat on the results for four years. All that time, taxpayers were kept in the dark while their tax dollars continued to fund a completely ineffective program.

    HHS had finished collecting all the data in 2008. Despite persistent prodding by members of Congress, the Department did not make the report (coyly dated October 2012) public until the Friday before Christmas. The timing couldn?t have been better if your goal is to get minimal attention.

    Surely HHS was not eager to release yet another report showing that the feel-good Head Start program doesn?t work. But numbers don?t lie.

    The third-grade follow-up study found that access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language and math ability.
    The evaluation also examined the program?s effect on social-emotional development. It found that children in the 4-year-old group actually reported worse peer relations in third grade than their non-Head Start counterparts.

    There was also no statistically significant effect on teacher-reported, social-emotional development of children. Alarmingly, there was a negative effect on the 4-year-old cohort. Teachers reported ?strong evidence of an unfavorable impact on the incidence of children?s emotional symptoms.? Moreover, Head Start also failed to improve the parenting outcomes and child-health outcomes of participants.

    The bottom line: Washington?s 48-year experiment with federal preschool has failed to deliver long-lasting, positive developments for its participants. Still, many in Congress argue that the way to fix this is to increase funding for Head Start.

    Read more: Head Start's sad and costly secret -- what Washington doesn't want you to know | Fox News


    Head Start Impact Study and Follow-up, 2000-2012
    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre...w-up-2000-2012
    Last edited by GloriaInTX; 03-04-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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    The Headstart students are being compared to peers who did not go to Headstart, yes? Are they students who would have otherwise been eligible for Headstart but chose not to go? Or pretty much all students in general?

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    A comparison of demographic characteristics of the randomly assigned children and their parents indicated that there were few statistically significant differences35 between the Head Start and control groups. This suggests that the initial randomization was done with high integrity and that the samples can provide the necessary confidence in the validity of the impact estimates.
    See page 19 of the report

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default...art_report.pdf
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
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    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    We should be cutting any program that is not effective right now.
    Lisa
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    I think giving all children access to preschool programs regardless of ability to pay is okay to keep in my book.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    I think if these programs aren't working the money could be spent more effectively somewhere else. Use it on programs for inner city kids to help them prepare for college or jobs or somewhere that it will actually do some good. My kids didn't go to preschool and I don't think it is necessary if the added benefit is not worth the cost.
    Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
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    Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013


    I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson

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    From the children I know from teaching that age Sunday School, I do not think the head start here is that effective. I am not sure if it varies by area or not though. I know kids that go to Head Start, kids that go to Private School, kids that are homeschooled, and kids that do nothing before kindergarten. In my experience, from the kids I know, the kids that did no school are not any farther behind than the kids that go to head start. The kids that were further ahead are the ones who either A. went to private preschool, B. had parents that really worked with them at home, or C. Kids that went to nice daycares that had preschool programs. The local head start program here is primarily a day care where the kids learn to sit and follow directions but is not highly academic.

    ETA - The private and homeschooled children that I know are reading by the end of preschool. My daughter's curriculum (Mostly used in private schools) has you reading by the end of preschool. The children that I have come across in head start are still learning colors and letters. I fully admit that it could be just this area. The public schools here are pretty crappy.
    Last edited by AlyssaEimers; 03-05-2013 at 12:56 PM.

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    Community Host Sapphire Sunsets's Avatar
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    I'm wondering about this because i just did a search and it shows alot of differences.

    Head Start Program - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    one thing, it's not just used for kids before they go into kindy, there are alot more benefits then just that.

    Health services include screenings, health check–ups and dental check–ups. Social services provide family advocates to work with parents and assist them in accessing community resources for low income families.


    DHHS 2011 study

    A 2011 report by the Department of Health and Human Services, Head Start Impact, examined the cognitive development, social-emotional development, and physical health outcomes of Head Start students as compared to a control group that attended private preschool or stayed home with a caregiver. Head Start students were split into two distinct cohorts – 3-year-olds with two years of Head Start before kindergarten, and 4-year-olds with only one year of Head Start before kindergarten. The study found:
    1. Though the program had a “positive impact” on children’s experiences through the preschool years, “advantages children gained during their Head Start and age 4 years yielded only a few statistically significant differences in outcomes at the end of 1st grade for the sample as a whole. Impacts at the end of kindergarten were scattered…”
    2. After first grade, there were no significant social-emotional impacts for the cohort of 4-year-olds, and mixed results on measures of shyness, social withdrawal and problematic student-teacher interactions. The cohort of 3-year-olds with two years of Head Start attendance, however, manifested less hyperactive behaviors and more positive relationships with parents.
    3. By the end of first grade, only “a single cognitive impact was found for each cohort.” Compared to students in the control group, the 4-year-old Head Start cohort did “significantly better” on vocabulary and the 3-year-old cohort tested better in oral comprehension.
    The study concludes, "Head Start has benefits for both 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in the cognitive, health, and parenting domains, and for 3-year-olds in the social-emotional domain. However, the benefits of access to Head Start at age four are largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole. For 3-year-olds, there are few sustained benefits, although access to the program may lead to improved parent-child relationships through 1st grade, a potentially important finding for children’s longer term development.



    Supportive studies and statements

    According to Datta[12][not in citation given][13] who summarized 31 studies, the program showed immediate improvement in the IQ scores of participating children, though nonparticipants narrowed the difference over time. Garces, Thomas, and Currie used data from the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics to review outcomes for close to 4,000 adults followed from childhood. Among European–Americans, adults who had attended Head Start were significantly more likely to complete high school, attend college, and possibly have higher earnings in their early twenties than their nonparticipant siblings. African American adults who had attended Head Start were significantly less likely to be booked or charged for a crime than were their nonparticipant siblings. Head Start may increase the likelihood that African American males graduate from high school. In addition, the authors noted larger effects for younger siblings who attended Head Start after an older sibling.[14]
    In addition, according to Seitz, Abelson, Levine, and Zigler (1975), who conducted a study comparing disadvantaged children that were not enrolled in Head Start and children that attended Head Start by looking at their Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT). The participants were low-income inner-city black children from economically disadvantaged parents who were considered unskilled and unemployed [15] . Head Start children had attended Head Start for at least five months at the time of testing, which consisted of nine boys and 11 girls.[15] For the disadvantaged group, the children were on the waiting list to be enrolled into Head Start, which consisted of 11 boys and nine girls.[15] Both groups were matched by family income, parental employment and marital status.[15] The procedure of the testing was that the tester would come to the children's homes in both groups to test the children using the PPVT and also test the children away from their homes, in a school or office setting.[15] The results showed that Head Start children scored higher than the non Head Start children in both settings, which suggested preschool intervention programs may have influenced the result.[15] Interestingly, non Head Start children that were tested at home scored the lowest between the groups, due to anxiety factors of having an unfamiliar person in their homes.[15] On the other hand, Head Start children, the environmental factor did not matter, which suggested that having preschool intervention programs such as Head Start may influence motivational level by helping the children to maintain concentration.[15]
    In a 2009 article evaluating Head Start, researcher David Deming published one of the most sophisticated evaluations of the program to date, using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. This study compared siblings and found that those who attended Head Start not only showed stronger academic performance, as shown on test scores, for years afterward, but were also less likely to be diagnosed as learning disabled, less likely to commit crime, more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and less likely to suffer from poor health as an adult.[16]
    Head Start is associated with significant gains in test scores. Head Start significantly reduces the probability that a child will repeat a grade.[1]
    Criticisms resulted in plans to improve program services, by for example serving children above and below preschool age.[17]
    [edit]Mixed studies and statements

    A within–family analysis compared children in Head Start with their nonparticipant siblings. Mothers who were themselves enrolled in Head Start were compared to their adult sisters who were not.Currie and Thomas separately analyzed white, black and Hispanic participants. White children, who were the most disadvantaged, showed larger and longer lasting improvements than black children.[18]
    Many researchers argue that Head Start's significant initial impacts quickly fade. This phenomenon, known as “Head Start Fade”, is evident as early as second and third grade.[19][20][21] One postulated reason for this effect is the fact that Head Start participants are significantly more likely than other children to attend lower-quality public schools, which can structurally undermine any advantage that Head Start would initially provide.

    In contrast to the general prekindergarten population, disadvantaged children and those attending schools with "low levels of academic instruction" get the largest and most lasting academic gains.[22]
    Barnett and Hustedt (2005) reviewed the literature and stated that "Our review finds mixed, but generally positive, evidence regarding Head Start's long-term benefits. Although studies typically find that increases in IQ fade out over time, many other studies also find decreases in grade retention and special education placements. Sustained increases in school achievement are sometimes found, but in other cases flawed research methods produce results that mimic fade-out. In recent years, the federal government has funded large-scale evaluations of Head Start and Early Head Start. Results from the Early Head Start evaluation are particularly informative, as study participants were randomly assigned to either the Early Head Start group or a control group. Early Head Start demonstrated modest improvements in children's development and parent beliefs and behavior."[23]
    [edit]Critical studies and statements

    According to the most widely cited source supporting Head Start, children who finish the program and are placed into disadvantaged schools perform worse than their peers by second grade. Only by isolating such children (such as dispersing and sending them to better-performing school districts) could gains be sustained.[24]
    In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, "Head Start Falls Further Behind," Besharov and Call discuss an 1998 evaluation of the Head Start program that led to a national reevaluation of the program. The authors stated that research concluded that the current program had little meaningful impact. However, they did not cite primary sources.[25]
    In 2011, Time magazine's columnist Joe Klein called for the elimination of Head Start, citing an internal report that the program is costly and makes a negligible impact on children's well-being over time. "You take the million or so poorest 3- and 4-year-old children and give them a leg up on socialization and education by providing preschool for them; if it works, it saves money in the long run by producing fewer criminals and welfare recipients...it is now 45 years later. We spend more than $7 billion providing Head Start to nearly 1 million children each year. And finally there is indisputable evidence about the program's effectiveness, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services: Head Start simply does not work."[26]
    One study found no evidence that Head Start participation had lasting effect on test scores in the early years of school.[27]
    [edit]Congressional Impact Study

    In 1998, Congress mandated an intensive study of the effectiveness of Head Start, the "Head Start Impact Study", which issued a series of reports on the design and study of a target population of 5,000 3- and 4-year old children.[28]
    The study measured Head Start's effectiveness as compared to a variety of other forms of community support and educational intervention, as opposed to comparing Head Start to a nonintervention alternative. Earlier Head Start Impact Study First Year Findings were released in June 2005. Study participants were assigned to either Head Start or other parent–selected community resources for one year. 60% of the children in the control group were placed in other preschools. The first report showed consistent small to moderate advantages to 3 year old children including pre-reading, pre-vocabulary, and parent reports of children’s literacy skills. No significant impacts were found for the constructs oral comprehension and phonological awareness or early mathematics skills for either age group. Fewer positive benefits were found for 4 year olds. The benefits improved with early participation and varied among racial and ethnic groups. These analyses did not assess the durability of the benefits.[29]




  9. #9
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    I would like to see the study follow them through their entire school career to see the differnce if any later on.
    Sapphire Sunsets likes this.

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