Head Start seeks bail-out

Don’t bail-out Head Start, advises Checker Finn on Flypaper.

The National Head Start Association wants to get $4.3 billion for Head Start in the economic stimulus package.

Forty years of evaluations have demonstrated that Head Start does next to nothing to prepare its young charges — needy three- and four-year-olds — to succeed in kindergarten and beyond, and that whatever gains it yields quickly dissipate once the kids enroll in school.

The major reason it’s ineffective as a pre-school program is because it has no curriculum and little cognitive content, because most of its staffers are “child care workers,” not teachers, and because the National Head Start Association itself has defied every effort by policymakers to transform it into the pre-literacy program that it ought to be and that these kids truly need.

If funding were tied to a cognitive curriculum, would Head Start leaders buy into it?

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  1. Most of the child care workers who work there are of the same strata as their charges, so it’s really a welfare program or workfare program. Just like all those fabulous child care facilities in Denmark, Sweden, etc. that the press loves to parade. You drop your kid off at the state-funded creche, so you can go to your job at the state-funded creche.

  2. Oh brother. I don’t think kids need to be in a Head Start program whether they have a “curriculum” or not. Kids this age need to be kids. They need to explore the world around them, play with Play-Doh, build with blocks, have books read to them. Sheeesh!

    If you MUST have child care for your kids, put them in a quality daycare facility or – better yet – get a babysitter or grandparent or some other relative to watch them at home. I have seen kids come to the YMCA at the crack of dawn, sleepy, still in their pajamas, carrying their “breakfast” of a baggie of Cheerios and a juice box. So sad. They wouldn’t see a parent again until after 5 or 6 pm. Some would spend as much as 12 hours at the daycare center in the YMCA.

    Please. These kids need to be at home where they can run around and play with their toys. They need to be taken to the park where they can meet other children. Childhood goes by soooo quickly…can’t people take the time to enjoy their kids?

  3. Mike from Oregon says:

    From barrackobama.com (I think it’s what his presidential candidate website turned into) – “Obama and Biden will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.”

    I thought I remembered that they ran on the promise of wasting MORE money on this rather useless program; and I was correct. More of my tax dollars going down the toilet.