Study: Head Start Program a Waste of Money

As the South Dakota legislature has now begun the 2010 session, it’s only a matter of time before educrats roll out their perennial attempt to push government preschool on the taxpayers.

A number of studies have shown that pre-K just doesn’t provide the bang for the buck, and several studies have found negative behavioral consequences for children who are placed in such programs.  Yet liberals aren’t about to allow things like facts, logic and reality get in the way of their desire to separate children from their parents at an earlier age.

So it is timely that a study on the Head Start program has just been released from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Head Start is a program begun in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a part of his “Great Society” war on poverty (you know, the one that, $6 trillion later, saw the same poverty level as the day the initiative began).

While the study found a few positive outcomes (that could just as easily or better be effected by engaged parents) from the Head Start Program,  real academic gains were few and usually dissipated by the end of the first grade.

However, the advantages children gained during their Head Start and age 4 years yielded only a few statistically significant differences in outcomes at the end of 1st grade for the sample as a whole. Impacts at the end of kindergarten were scattered and are mentioned below only when they appear to be related to the 1st grade impacts.

I went to public school as a child, but I didn’t attend Head Start, kindergarten, preschool or any such program. My parents and grandparents took care of me and educated me at home before I started the first grade–and I remained several grade levels ahead of my Head Start and kindergarten peers through junior high and even high school.  When we were all five years old, while they had been playing with colored blocks and taking naps, I was being taught reading, addition and subtraction by my parents and grandparents.

Education policy analyst Dan Lips of the Heritage Foundation doesn’t believe the taxpayer money spent on Head Start is money well spent.

From CNS News:

“I think the research evidence of other studies (indicates) that preschool benefits generally fade away as children get older,” Lips told “I also think that it is very likely that Head Start generally isn’t a quality program.”

He added: “The program spends about $7,000 per student. I think those funds could be put to much better use.”

Studies continue over and over and over to point to parental involvement as the single most important factor in the academic success of children.  Yet somehow some in our society continue to bang their heads against a brick wall (and reaching into the taxpayer’s pockets), insisting that if we just throw a little more money at it, if we just come up with the right program, our children will magically become smarter and suddenly become intellectual giants without parents having to invest any time in their children.

Well, the “intellectuals” in the education establishment may be too dense to figure out the obvious, but we average Americans get it, and it’s time we expected it of our representatives–and of other parents who want to lighten our pockets to make things easier on themselves.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger said a few years ago of parents and children: “Don’t have them if you won’t raise them.”  What simple but profound wisdom!

Children aren’t pets that are fun to play with sometimes and that you can ignore the rest of the time.  They aren’t props that look good on Christmas post cards, but otherwise must be “kept” somewhere else by someone else.   They are little human beings who desperately need the love, attention, affirmation, education and guidance that only parents can adequately provide.

No one loves a child like their parent, and no one can ensure a child has what they need like their own parent. We as a culture are overdue for re-learning this important truth.

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