HHS: Head Start Students Do Worse in Math Than Non-Head Start Students
Children who were in the federal Head Start program do worse in math and have more problems with social interaction by the third grade than children who were not in the program, according to a large-scale study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The congressionally mandated study evaluated 4,667 elementary students. The main conclusion is that overall, the $8 billion Head Start program provides no measurable benefit for children by the time they reach the third grade compared to the sampling of children in similar economic circumstances who were not in the program, referred to as the “control group” in the study.
“In summary, there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices,” the HHS study said. “The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impact on children.”
The Obama administration has recently warned that if the automatic spending adjustments in the sequester occur on March 1, 70,000 children will lose a place in Head Start. Further, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for universal pre-school for all children.
The study divided those who enter Head Start at the age of 3 and those who enter at the age of 4.
Math scores are actually poorer for students who were in Head Start, the study said. But, Head Start students averaged better in reading/language arts by third grade. ...