Actually, we should have killed Head Start a long time ago. Even a heavily massaged report by the Department of Health and Human Services admits that the program is essentially a waste of time:
In sum, this report finds that providing access to 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…
We’ve spent 100 billion dollars on Head Start since 1965 and we’re seeing some tiny improvement that lasts from age 4 to 1st grade? Is it any wonder this country is bankrupt and living on credit from China?
So, we have an enormously expensive program that doesn’t work; can it get any worse? We’re talking about the government here, so OF COURSE it can get worse. It turns out that Head Start is riddled with fraud:
An undercover investigation into the federal government’s Head Start program has found enough enrollment abuses to generate a report to President Obama and a major damage-control effort by the agency that runs the program.
At a hearing Tuesday, members of the House Education and Labor Committee heard dramatic audio clips of fraud being taken by Government Accountability Office (GAO) agents. In one clip, a New Jersey Head Start worker handed back a $23,000 pay stub to two agents who were pretending to enroll their children in the preschool program.
“Now you see it, now you don’t,” the Head Start worker said.
…In testimony presented to the House panel Tuesday, GAO special investigations official Gregory D. Kutz said that in at least eight cases, Head Start employees “manipulated” information to admit ineligible children.
Enrollment rules were so lax, he warned, that Head Start workers could easily “doctor” enrollment applications, and families could enter the program with “bogus” documents created at home.
…Head Start, created 45 years ago as a “war on poverty” program, receives $7 billion a year. Last year, it received an extra $2 billion under the stimulus bill, and the Obama administration has requested another $1 billion for it for 2011.
Head Start’s main purpose is to narrow the school-readiness gap by giving poor preschoolers free educational, medical, nutritional and social services.
Early studies have showed that Head Start services pay off when the children start school.
But in January, a massive, 10-year study found that by the time Head Start children finish first grade, they score no better than non-Head Start children on most of 112 measures.
So, everyone knows the program doesn’t work and it’s run behind-the-scenes with ACORN-style ethics rules. Yet, we were spending 7 billion dollars a year on it when Obama came into office and he borrowed another 3 billion dollars for a non-functional program. It’s time to stop wasting our money. It’s time for the Head Start program to die.