HHS Study: Yep, Head Start doesn’t work

posted at 6:51 pm on January 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Washington politicians interested in never cutting a dime from Washington’s spending can bring forth the name of Head Start quicker than the name of their own districts. It’s a heart-string puller. It has its roots deep in the Great Society, established in 1965 and expanded over the years to become one of the country’s longest-running programs to combat the effects of poverty. More than 20 million American children have gone through the program, which is designed to impart parenting skills to parents, and cognitive, emotional, and health improvements to children. Over the years, the program has cost $180 billion.

For the second time in two years, a Congressionally mandated study of the Health and Human Services program has shown it does not work. Its published date is October 2012, but it wasn’t released until after Obama’s election, presumably so Democratic campaigns could safely accuse Republicans of not caring about children and ignore the actual results of the programs they favor.

The timing of the release raises questions about whether HHS was trying to bury the findings in the report, which shows, among other outcomes, that by third grade, the $8 billion Head Start program had little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of participants. On a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on children.

The two studies followed two cohorts—one with access to Head Start and one without, for a total of 5,000 children—through first grade (2010 study) and into third grade (2012 study) to determine whether the federal program had lasting effects on cognitive abilities, emotional well-being, behavior, or parenting skills.

In 2010, HHS released the findings of the Head Start Impact Study, which tracked the progress of three- and four-year-olds entering Head Start through kindergarten and first grade. Overall, Head Start had little to no positive effects for children who were granted access.

For the four-year-old group, compared to similarly situated children not allowed access to Head Start, access to the program failed to raise the cognitive abilities of participants on 41 measures. Specifically, the language skills, literacy, math skills, and school performance of the participating children failed to improve.

Alarmingly, access to Head Start for the three-year-old group actually had a harmful effect on the teacher-assessed math ability of these children once they entered kindergarten. Teachers reported that non-participating children were more prepared in math skills than those children who participated in Head Start.

Head Start also had little to no effect on the other socio-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes of children participating in the program. For the four-year-old group, access to Head Start failed to have an effect for 69 out of 71 socio-emotional, health, and parenting outcomes.

And, they were studied again in third grade:

Impacts on Cognitive Development. For cognitive development, the third-grade study assessed 11 outcomes for the original three- and four-year-old cohorts. Access to Head Start for each group had no statistically measurable effects on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability.

Impacts on Social-Emotional Development. For social-emotional development, the third-grade study assessed 19 outcomes for each cohort. For measures of parent-reported social-emotional outcomes, access to Head Start for the three-year-old cohort failed to affect four of the five measures. For this cohort, Head Start failed to affect four measures of parental-reported problem behaviors. However, access to Head Start yielded a slight beneficial impact on children in the areas of social skills and positive approaches to learning.

More:

For third grade, access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effect on the 10 teacher-reported measures of social-emotional development for the three-year-old cohort. However, for the four-year-old cohort, out of 10 measures, access to Head Start is associated with one harmful impact. Teachers reported “strong evidence of an unfavorable impact on the incidence of children’s emotional symptoms.” Access to Head Start for this cohort had no beneficial or harmful impacts on the remaining nine teacher-reported measures.

The theme of this evaluation is “no statistically measurable effect,” and what tiny positive effects there are among subgroups in behavioral and parental improvements are outweighed by statistically measurable harmful impacts in others. This is not a wise way to spend billions of dollars.

Because this program is for low-income children and families, it’s easy to demagogue. All of its critics just hate low-income children, the speeches go, making it rather hard to criticize the program. But the reality is, when you’re taking billions out of the federal budget and out of American citizens’ budgets to prop up a program that has been shown repeatedly not to work for the very people who need it to work, you are doing a disservice to those children. It is not enough to pass legislation that funds a giant federal program if that program does nothing to help the people you claim to be helping. It is not compassionate to perpetuate that program when scientifically rigorous studies done during a Democratic administration have shown it does not help, and sometimes hurts. There are a thousand private entities doing work on education, social-emotional development, and parenting skills in low-income communities that would make better use of a 1/100th of Head Start’s budget than Head Start is. Head Start’s allotment in Obama’s 2013 budget is $8 billion— more than Twitter’s entire net worth and four times the worth of Pinterest, for some budgetary perspective. Head Start was upset there wasn’t more “investment.”

Head Start’s mission statement:

“Head Start promotes school preparation by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services.”

No, despite lots of money and well-intentioned employees, it doesn’t. Now, would we like to admit that and try something that does or just continue to fail these children in favor of some morally righteous back-patting and $8 billion in false “compassion?”

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Now, would we like to admit that and try something that does or just continue to fail these children in favor of some morally righteous back-patting and $8 billion in false “compassion?”

Depends on who ‘we’ is, doesn’t it?

AUINSC on January 11, 2013 at 6:55 PM

It doesn’t matter to them whether it works or not. They think we’re all a bunch of idiots if you can’t tell.

Timin203 on January 11, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Head Start does exactly what it was meant to do: Employ more teachers and insinuate government workers and government ethics into children’s lives as early as possible.

29Victor on January 11, 2013 at 6:56 PM

And, lets be honest, federal intervention in education is working very well if your goal is to indoctrinate the youth, not to teach them.

Timin203 on January 11, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Head Start promotes school preparation by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services.”

Translation — It’s the nose under the tent.

29Victor on January 11, 2013 at 6:58 PM

I remember reading years ago in the mid 90′s.. in Time or Newsweek (It’s what I did back then). Anyway… read a large piece on how Head start was pretty much worthless. Remember reading a line something like. “Few agree on much but almost everyone asked agreed Head Start was a failed program” or something like that.

It was just a few years later Head Start got a massive funding increase.

Just like ethanol. Remember reading about that one too years ago. A failed fuel. Expensive. Useless. A boondoggle. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it.

What did Reagan say Government does? “If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.”

JellyToast on January 11, 2013 at 7:03 PM

One cannot teach those who do not wish to be taught.

OldEnglish on January 11, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Without sifting through the whole thing…A study by Obama’s Department of HHS???

Really??

MOAR SPENDING!!
…and at least 3 more bureaucracies to do the the completely useless job HHS is doing to begin with…

Lean FORWARD!!!

If these a$$holes are putting out a report that says a liberal program isn’t working..

Grab yer wallet….

BigWyo on January 11, 2013 at 7:05 PM

No, despite lots of money and well-intentioned employees, it doesn’t. Now, would we like to admit that and try something that does or just continue to fail these children in favor of some morally righteous back-patting and $8 billion in false “compassion?”

Liberal moral preening, a make-work jobs program, and self-righteous back-patting is largely the point of Head Start. You have to be publically seen to care about the children and any actual help, or detriment is secondary.

No bureaucracy ever works to put itself out of business.

sharrukin on January 11, 2013 at 7:10 PM

I eagerly await the 10 yr study on the effectiveness of Obamacare…$180 billion wasted will be pennies to this looming disaster…

hillsoftx on January 11, 2013 at 7:17 PM

The problem is clear here:

/We need to throw even more money at it …

ShainS on January 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

It’s not just Headstart. K4 really makes no difference either. And I’m not at all sure of K5.

But then, the purpose of Headstart is not to make a difference, but to message: We Care. Even when they don’t.

tom on January 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM

I admit I know next to nothing about Head Start but is it possible that its primary attraction is free babysitting?

Mason on January 11, 2013 at 7:21 PM

I eagerly await the 10 yr study on the effectiveness of Obamacare…$180 billion wasted will be pennies to this looming disaster…

hillsoftx on January 11, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Yes, because the government admits its failures and acknowledges it was a bad idea.

More likely, “unexpected” things (republicans & bush’s fault) will continuously pop that that will require more and more money, and by the time 10 years comes around, we’ll forget what the law was supposed to do, and make up some new mission that also requires more money. And on and on it will go, with every “study” finding faults also recommending more money until we’re broke.

That’s how every federal program works.

Timin203 on January 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM

The problem is clear here:

/We need to throw even more money at it …

ShainS on January 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

The Rule of Progressivism: When something doesn’t work, we need to spend more money on it.

Explains the Department of Education, doesn’t it. “Education in this country is lacking. Let’s spend more money on it.”

Repeat annually.

tom on January 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM

That is only becuase it is massively underfunded.

Rio Linda Refugee on January 11, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Many of the same education bureaucrats that scream the benefits of Head Start are vehemently opposed to school choice and vouchers.

It is a mind bending, WTF, attitude.

MichaelGabriel on January 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Increased Illegitamacy leads to increased illiteracy. Duh!

southernms on January 11, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Head Start is still a perfectly good day-care center, sponsored by the taxpayer.

listens2glenn on January 11, 2013 at 7:32 PM

As I recall, the release of the 2010 study was delayed, too.

hepcat on January 11, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Government waste?

ppffffffttttt, baby we got moneys to burn.

We is jus gonna mints us a QUADRILLION dollar coin!!

PappyD61 on January 11, 2013 at 7:33 PM

BTW, Mary?

That picture hurts.

listens2glenn on January 11, 2013 at 7:34 PM

It’s just like ethanol, except it’s the kids who aren’t being helped instead of the environment. In the end, it’s all about making libs feel good.

hepcat on January 11, 2013 at 7:34 PM

As a first year teacher, to me, Headstart did provide summer employment for 3 years. Looking back on that experience I can tell you that we were plagued with interfering, jealous local government administrators who saw it as a chance to get their fingers into some extra money. I didn’t realize it at the time but we had many administrative problems that our principal in training had to solve. He kept those arguments at his level and let us teach. But once that was somewhat solved and we finally got paid we had a visit from some Early Childhood Diva from SUNY whose function I was never able to ascertain. She had no authority over us, but she sure had many opinions. One that struck me as very odd, but now is the hallmark of why education is so anti-American in this country was her insistence that we not say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. In 1965 that was unheard of, but those rascally Leftists were at work back then.

Headstart never worked. Even back then we knew it couldn’t work because children need a two parent family where the parents actually talk to them, play with them, take them places appropriate to their age level, help them gain motor skills, read to them and so on. The part time so-called education of only summer school was doomed to fail. The biggest mistake that government has made is taking on too much responsibility in raising children. It isn’t their job. It’s the parents’ job and they have abdicated it to government schools. It starts with feeding your own kids. School cafeterias led to school lunches, breakfasts, after school care, and dinner at school. It’s the Nanny State. It’s expensive. It’s not good for America because parents think that these services should be provided and now expect it. Socialism has taken over education.

BetseyRoss on January 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

For the second time in two years, a Congressionally mandated study of the Health and Human Services program has shown it does not work.

Obviously MORE MONEY needs to be spent!

GarandFan on January 11, 2013 at 7:44 PM

despite lots of money and well-intentioned employees

Mary Katharine gets it right. I actually taught Head Start several years ago. My aide and I constantly butted heads with admins and supervisors. They said we expected too much in academics and were too restrictive because we actually utilized discipline( in other words we didn’t just let them run around and ignore us.)
The program was, and is, all about so-called open classroom with a focus on social and other developments and very little on academic basics. I loved the kids and was lucky to have some very supportive parents in the groups. The concept is a good one, many children do need the socialization and academic preparation, no matter the income and social level. My own grandkids benefited greatly from a well-run private pre-school.
Maybe I would still be in the program trying to actually teach, but we moved and I ended up teaching higher grades.
So IMO, it’s a good idea that as usual was taken in the wrong direction by Liberal academics. Not sure there is anything to be done at this stage but perhaps a study showing the difference between this program and private ones might actually open some eyes.
I know, I know that isn’t going to happen…silly me.

Deanna on January 11, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Of course maintaining the Head Start program in spite of its failure to achieve its goals would amount to doing the same thing and expecting different results. By one definition it would be insane to continue. However recently government officials have given less cause than ever to assume their sanity.

PerceptorII on January 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM

For the second time in two years, a Congressionally mandated study of the Health and Human Services program has shown it does not work.

Libs are absolutely beneath contempt, every gd one of em. The powers that be (our rulers) have two studies showing Head Start doesn’t work as planned and they STILL have the nerve to talk about how repubs want to cut programs for chirren–including beloved Head Start.

arnold ziffel on January 11, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Head start was well intentioned, but now it is babysitting for under ability children, whose parents don’t know how to live very well, and are not very educated. There should be more instruction, not less, but I am pretty sure these kids are so below average they are would not even prepared for normal pre school. I think they are kids that should not have been promoted up to third grade like in this study, they should be held back until they are on grade level for K and for first grade. Their mental disabilities need to be diagnosed early, and not pushed along as if they were average. Many kids in head start with substandard parents have problems like the affects of drugs and alcohol thru fetal alcohol syndrome. Their mothers might have been addicts or not educated about pregnancy. Head start cannot solve these problems, and really shouldn’t be “free babysitting.”

Fleuries on January 11, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Headstart never worked. Even back then we knew it couldn’t work because children need a two parent family where the parents actually talk to them, play with them, take them places appropriate to their age level, help them gain motor skills, read to them and so on. The part time so-called education of only summer school was doomed to fail.
BetseyRoss on January 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

I too taught Head Start but I don’t think it’s a bad idea. As I said in my other post, pre-school can be a good idea whether there are one or two parents involved. My own grandchildren lived in a very rural area so had little contact with other children and the socialization they got in a private pre-school was extremely helpful. Two attended a Montessori pre-school and the other attended a church run-program and all were encouraged academically which was excellent as they are extremely bright. And I say that as a former teacher, not just grandma. LOL

Many of the parents in my groups could barely pass 6th grade so I don’t think they were capable of some of the things you would like to see them do. We can’t pepetuate the failure of the public school system, it needs an over-haul, and Head Start may be the best place to start. Perhaps if these kids see there is something to actually learning they may not end up like their parents. But right now Head Start isn’t doing that.

I think it’s pretty simple really, Liberal academic ideas don’t work, whether it’s the government involved or private institutions. My son and DIL looked at private schools that shocked them with their far Left ideas.

Oh and when I taught Head Start it followed the school year and wasn’t just a summer program.
Unfortunately like most good ideas the government managed to screw it up.

Deanna on January 11, 2013 at 8:19 PM

From my experience with education advocacy, often in the poorest sectors, Head Start may technically be better than nothing, but there is no substitute for healthy, functional, motivated parents.

There is no way around it. A single mother at the poverty level, using various inebriants, who has children from multiple fathers and has serial relationships with men has virtually no hope of raising intellectually healthy children. Many times the kids are diagnosed with mental retardation, when the real issue is failure to thrive or lack of intellectual stimulation, piled on a drug/alcohol fueled pregnancy.

Head Start may possibly be better than nothing, but it can’t compensate for the lack of competent parenting. At this point, many of the Head Start parents have been Head Start children for several generations.

obladioblada on January 11, 2013 at 8:59 PM

I think it’s pretty simple really, Liberal Humanistic academic ideas don’t work, whether it’s the government involved or private institutions. My son and DIL looked at private schools that shocked them with their far Left ideas.

Deanna on January 11, 2013 at 8:19 PM

The real problem with Liberal ideas is that they’re based on a purely humanistic perspective which is severely limited.

There’s a reason why Catholic parochial schools and home schooling produces better results on so many levels than public schools.

We’ve steadily supplanted the “traditional” influences in child upbringing with the wacked-out ideas from guys like John Dewey and other Humanists.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Head Start is a federal jobs program for the parents of the children in the program.

In many of these programs, little is being taught.

It’s a federal jobs program for the unemployable who, in turn, pass on the same set of people skills to unsuspecting preschoolers.

The program is also rife with fraud and mismanagement of funds.

mcra99 on January 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM

If you look at the various statistics on school graduation, school scores, income level 5 years after leaving school … not ONE SINGLE PROGRAM has had any measurable impact whatsoever and there is reason to argue that it has made things worse.

The billions of dollars we have poured into educating our children has resulted in absolutely zero overall difference in SAT scores since the 1970′s. Over half the adults in Detroit today are functionally illiterate.

The first thing we need to do is END every single program. All of them. Every one. And start over from scratch. Nothing works as well as direct personal economic consequences. How about … if you don’t graduate high school you don’t get an EBT card. Period. If you can’t pass a basic literacy test, you don’t get the right to vote. Period.

The only thing that spurs people to succeed is self-interest. If people drop out and then get a rent subsidy, a food subsidy, and welfare payments, why the hell should they graduate high school? Cut off the welfare for people who have not graduated.

crosspatch on January 11, 2013 at 10:46 PM

I am late to this thread but I have a few observations. First, the results are very conclusive–there is no academic, socio, parental etc benefit to this program. YET the finding will never see the light of day beyond this blog. This very well could have been released during election season, and still nobody would care. Second, this is precisely why we are doomed to become Greece–this program (and many other like it) will never be cut despite proven failures.

Jackalope on January 11, 2013 at 11:27 PM

As an RN that at least went through an acedemic course on childhood development these findings that 3 and 4 year olds are not absorbing anything is not surprising. There is a reason first grade is at six years old but of course progressives though our fore-fathers just didn’t care enough to start school at 3 or 4.

The truth is by experience or parents and theirs learned that just as an infant can’t be taught to read there is a time period where NOTHING improves school function or advanced skills like Parenting! Of course the progressives can never resist the more is better approach to everything and thus we get feelings instead of comment sense on “educating” children at age 3 MUST be better than not.

Conan on January 11, 2013 at 11:59 PM

With apologies to Pink Floyd:

If we tell you the name of the game, boy/
We call it riding the gravy train!

Whether or not a program fulfills its stated mission is quite irrelevant. There is one metric that counts in these cases: does the program provide sufficient cash flow to support corruption? Of course the pols involved will demagogue it, because they can’t afford to lose access to the funds that they are feeding their entrenched constituencies.

Xasprtr on January 12, 2013 at 12:20 AM

Children learn what they need to learn at those young ages just by playing and existing.

Allahs vulva on January 12, 2013 at 12:41 AM

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/08/are-raising-generation-deluded-narcissists/

Is this at all related?

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2013 at 12:57 AM

What’s odd is that this program is that it is very anti-Rousseau.

But, these Leftists have a knack for inconsistency. They’ll complain ad nauseum about how right-wingers/corporations rape the environment and how our consumerist society must learn to do with less…how modern society has no moral right to pollute Gaia and so on. But, from what we’ve seen of the Workers’ Paradises of the Soviet Union and China, the end justifies the means-two of the biggest polluters in Mankind’s history.

It’s OK as long as damage is done in such a way so as to further their Leftist agenda.

Progressives in the 1920s complained about kids doing homework. They agreed with the Noble Savage concept of Rousseau…kids should frolic and be kids.

So when pofolk were obviously struggling to compete in academics and the working world, they pushed for stuff like Head Start. It doesn’t matter that these kids grow up with no books in the house, no learning about history, art, culture, mathematics, science and so on. The language at home is restricted to first tier vocabulary (I call it texting vocabulary) and topics centering around gossip, lottery tickets, and more than likely violence, alcohol,drugs, sex and bodily functions.

So then the arrogance of the Leftist takes over-the belief that they know best and that they can “fix” people through government.

Kids start learning from the moment they’re born (probably even before that, which makes abortion even more sickening). Some parents indeed go overboard in pushing their little ones. The point is that it is the family that is the first teacher of human beings, and for core values and the desire to learn, the best teachers.

One cannot teach those who do not wish to be taught.

OldEnglish on January 11, 2013 at 7:04 PM

True, but it’s easier for some to simply blame teachers and unions.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 12, 2013 at 5:10 AM

If it does no good then parents need to either let their kids out to play while teaching them basic safety and how to say ‘no’ to strangers… or work with someone working from home in manual arts or other business and get the kids to learn about this thing known as ‘spare time cash’ and that work is a reward beyond just the few bucks you get for it.

The latter might teach kids some actual skills, learn about safety and that the things in their homes do not grow on trees.

Plus it deprives them of the early knowledge that their parents just want to warehouse them with ‘teachers’…a fate worse than education, itself. A new era of education is dawning and it won’t have much to do with: schools, teachers, bureaucrats or government. People are fed up with those things and not seeing the great value of the mental attitude taken towards children by those organizations and actors meant to give them an education. Parroting back names and dates isn’t an education… telling you why the names, dates and events were important and how they still ring down to our daily lives, that is vital and yet we do not concentrate on that. Thus we don’t get it. And children learn to hate the educational system because it doesn’t teach them to think, just be docile, anomic actors in life.

ajacksonian on January 12, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Just a few more $ billion and it will start showing reults. I promise! s/

Bevan on January 12, 2013 at 7:55 AM

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 12, 2013 at 5:10 AM

Read this:

http://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

People are fed up with those things and not seeing the great value of the mental attitude taken towards children by those organizations and actors meant to give them an education. Parroting back names and dates isn’t an education… telling you why the names, dates and events were important and how they still ring down to our daily lives, that is vital and yet we do not concentrate on that.

ajacksonian on January 12, 2013 at 7:19 AM

I don’t agree with that. What you’re saying here is exactly what these Libtards have been pushing for 100+ years…how’s it been working out for us?

How many Americans don’t know their times tables, or important dates in history, or where states or countries are?

The reason we have public education is because homeschooling wasn’t adequately educating enough Americans…homeschooling wasn’t a preference 200 years ago, it was all most American families had. The day-to-day struggle of putting food on the table, and possibly time for religious instruction meant there was little time for education. Not only that, the parent was/is hard-pressed to teach their children beyond their own level of knowledge and education.

Our Forefathers clearly saw the need for a literate, educated society-this is as important for maintaining Liberty as the right to bear arms and freedom of speech/Press. But, they didn’t feel that it was something that concerned the Federal government anymore than policing, firefighting or routine medical services. These were among the many responsibilities reserved for the various states, cities and counties.

Public education was also important in the process of enculturation. Immigrant children were to learn American values and mastery of the English language via public education. Certainly the encroaching Left is trying to squelch this aspect of American public education.

To say that public education has successfully indoctrinated our children to become Communists is absurd. The media has far more influence over how people think than what a teacher says. There is a natural inclination for young people to be skeptical of what any adult has to say, teachers in particular.

The vast majority of our engineers, scientists and other professionals were educated in the public school system. But over time many in society have learned that they can be successful (i.e. make $) without academics. Drug dealers can do that…so what have we proven? This attitude has gotten us to the point where we no longer have enough engineers and scientists, and a society that will indeed vote in Communists like Obama.

I maintain that it’s largely our fault as Conservatives. Monetary success and hard work are important to us, but in the larger view, for the good of our Republic, we need more than that. Learning for the sake of learning is not a dangerous thing, but rather a good thing-if you want a Civilization rather than a cluster of homesteads that is.

But, we continue to retreat from public education and indeed Washington and the Leftists have been more than willing to step in.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 12, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Read this:

http://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

I think she made some good points, especially regarding language/grammar and logic.

I don’t think that compartmentalization of learning by subject is in itself a bad thing (if I read her correctly). At some point the individual has to draw the connections for themselves-if they can’t then they probably do not desire to do so or are intellectually incapable.

When you attempt to educate the masses, there will indeed be those “left behind”, but we must at least try as a society and give them the opportunity to either excel or fail, embrace or reject higher education. They as young people have the luxury of time and are free to figure out what vocations they can do the best in. Of course, some never do, or figure it out later in life.

It probably comes down to not so much how people learn best (it varies from individual to individual anyway), but rather what should be learned. There again, if this teacher or that does not teach you something, nothing is preventing you from picking up a book and learning it if you really want to. The teacher can’t teach everything, nor reach everyone, but they can make the student aware of things they would never know about and, hopefully, assist in the learning process.

Surely you can learn Latin on your own, but I suspect that you would learn much more with a teacher explaining it to you, and getting on your butt to do your homework, practice and to issue tests that also light a fire under you.

I suspect there are many, many Rosetta Stone and other language programs that have never been completed collecting dust in millions of American households…maybe almost as many as abandoned exercise equipment and unread National Geographic magazines…LOL

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 12, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Head Start as a learning program is a failure, but that is not what it actually is
Head Start is day care
Head Start went hand in hand with welfare to work programs by providing day care to low income single moms
As such, any attack on it is part of the great “war on women”
This is the situational reality as of today.

dazed_in_oh on January 12, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Ahh another program to ensure the dependent class.

CW on January 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 12, 2013 at 8:56 AM

I think you miss the point of her essay.

In the classical world it was understood that the spirit of a child is where everything takes place but that spirit must be trained, that is, DISCIPLINED. It will NOT, on its own, make the right decisions for what is best for it but must be, in a sense, FORCED, to do what is in its best interest.

The core context of traditional learning, in the classical world, was, DISCIPLINE. They understood the tendencies of human nature towards unenlightened self-destructive behavior. The mind of a child cannot be taught in a compartmentalized manner, that is, by teaching it SUBJECTS deprived of a context. It must be trained HOW to LEARN. But that assumes that the TEACHERS know both the context and the goal of said training.

Today’s Humanists, for that is the context in which ALL modern education is performed in, lack the insights into human nature and human existence beyond a utilitarian model based on political expediencies which they feel are important.

Classical educators understood, based on their Biblical philosophical grounding, both the limits of human nature and the ultimate goal of human existence and so “taught” to those ends.

The results, while limited to those who could access that discipline, can be readily seen in the lives, writings, and accomplishments of those who were enrolled in it. Even the common person who had been classically trained demonstrate a higher moral and intellectual character than those who are subjected to the Humanistic excuse for education today.

We really have “lost” much. And it is doubtful we will ever reclaim it for we have lost the means for discovery.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2013 at 10:17 AM

So?

This is another example of a total lack of common sense as well as government waste and ineptitude. There are so many laws and policies that should be sunset but it will never happen because it is some bureaucrats livelihood. Laws = government jobs = incomes = tax payer loss = total inaction on the part of an incompetent government. The road to hell is paved with good intentions though and they meant well when they instituted programs like this; the only problem is they do not work and no one has the will to go back and correct or discontinue them. After all their only concern is to get reelected and that won’t happen by ending Head Start.

Pardonme on January 12, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I’M GETTING REAL TIRED OF PAYING FOR EVERYONE ELSE’S KIDS!!! WELFARE TRASH NEEDS TO QUIT BREEDING, GET A JOB AND PAY FOR THEIR OWN WAY IN LIFE AND ILLEGALS NEED TO BE DEPORTED..NUFF SAID

ARIZONAVETERAN on January 12, 2013 at 3:53 PM

We’ve known that Head Start is a failure for decades now. Nothing new in this withheld study at all.

SPQR on January 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

When I worked in Kindergarten, the students who came to us from Head Start COULD NOT count to 10; COULD NOT tie their shoes; COULD NOT name colors; COULD NOT recite ANY of the ABC’s; COULD NOT play well with others—in spite of having spent a year in Head Start! Kindergarten teachers have known FOR YEARS that Head Start WAS NOT “preparing” students for Kindergarten, whatsoever.

DixT on January 12, 2013 at 8:03 PM

I’M GETTING REAL TIRED OF PAYING FOR EVERYONE ELSE’S KIDS!!!

ARIZONAVETERAN on January 12, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Coulda stopped right there.

I’m sick of it beyond words.

MelonCollie on January 13, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Now, would we like to admit that and try something that does or just continue to fail these children in favor of some morally righteous back-patting and $8 billion in false “compassion?”

These wise words apply to to this and virtually every political topic being debated today:

“The problem with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.”

Ronald Reagan

NeoDawg on February 22, 2013 at 9:23 AM