Head Start: Another Failed Government Program
A key requirement is that there be both an “experimental” group, that gets the “treatment” of the program, and a “control” group that doesn’t.
And the two groups have to be comparable. The one and only sure way of making them comparable is to randomly assign subjects to the experimental and the control groups.
This was done in a study of the federal Head Start program, and a definitive evaluation was recently released. Released, we might note, after much delay.
You’ll shortly be able to figure out the reason for the delay.
These studies get pretty long and elaborate, but they usually have an Executive Summary giving the bottom line on the findings. Here is the bottom line on Head Start:
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. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children.It’s common for any government program to be promoted as “for the children.” But to be “for the children,” it has to really help children.
If it doesn’t, it’s merely for the politicians and bureaucrats.