An article today in the Los Angeles Times once again mentions a federal study showing that “children in Head Start improve their language and literacy skills but that many of the gains disappear by the end of the first year.” I worked for a Head Start Regional office for eight years after the inception Read More … of the program and that claim was made in earlier research as well and consistently ever since. The implication is always that these results mean that there is something wrong with Head Start. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to ask instead what is wrong with the public elementary schools that they are unable to sustain the wonderful gains made by children in this program?
Despite such initial setbacks however, it should be noted that reliable studies have found resoundingly favorable long-term effects on grade repetition, special education, and high school graduation rates for Head Start children. (See http://www.nhsa.org/research/research_bites) Sadly somehow these more extensive long-term findings never makes into the articles about the excellent program, clerical oversights notwithstanding.
Sarah Anne Edwards, Ph.D.
Paul’s note: One can conclude that Headstart educates while the public schools dumb kids down. While there is enormous need to cut government debt, that most people understand and support, the preparation of coming generations to operate our society and country is a priority. If you read my blog entitled “Tutors for All,” you can see I believe there are less expensive approaches to educating our young. Sarah also wrote a Letter to the Editor to the Los Angeles Times.
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