Out of Control Policy Blog

Head Start Round UP or perhaps down

Julian Sanchez over at Reason's Hit and Run, has a round up of the various Head Start headlines.

Interesting to see the different spins on a new report gauging the effectiveness of Head Start:

Washington Post: "Head Start Children Show Some Gains"
Washington Times: "Head Start fails nearly half of study's 30 measurements"

NPR: "Head Start Study Suggests Minimal Benefits"

Head Start press release: "New Head Start Impact Study Shows 'Very Promising' Early Results, Points to Success of Program Boosting School Readiness of America's Most At-Risk Children. NHSA Warns of 'Politically Motivated Distortions' From Head Start Critics With Track Record of Negativity Toward the Program"

That last one's particularly telling–a kind of scrambling preemptive strike that reeks of desparation–but it's probably necessary to read the full report before jumping to conclusions. I do wonder, though, whether if the negative assessment is borne out, Head Start will stop being this sort of exemplar of what's wrong with libertarians and small-government conservatives (i.e. "These people even would repeal Head Start! It's puppies in blenders next!").

Unfortunately, spending billions on universal preschool is on the docket next and the libertarians and small-government conservatives who have reservations about turning a mixed preschool market over to the state will continue to be portrayed as the puppies in blender camp.

Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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