In 2007 and 2008, the Health and Human Services Department conducted a Head Start education Impact Study. The results were available sometime in 2011.
Even though the report was dated October 2012, it wasn't released to the public until after the elections and in December when the American public was consumed with holiday activities. The reason for the delay was that the report did not provide the glowing results this pre-kindergarten program was supposed to produce. Essentially, 3rd Graders who had participated in Head Start only had marginally better education scores. What was more disturbing is the fact that teachers and parents were reporting higher social problems with these students. Things like aggressiveness and higher rates of conflict with teachers.
We must also understand that these measurements were of 3rd Graders. Other studies have shown that there is a definite problem with something called "Head Start Fade" whereby Pre-K students continually lose their Head Start advantage each year until it is completely gone by high school.
In the President's 2013 State of the Union Address, just four months after the report's release, and knowing full well the results, Obama called for something called "high quality" universal Pre-K. He could have just requested an "expansion" of Head Start, but, the report made any mention of Head Start toxic. Now, we have Hillary Clinton also calling for "high quality" Pre-K for 8.1 million 3-to-5-year-old's within the next 10 years.
So, what is the "high quality" Pre-K that Obama and Hillary are referring to?
Well, obviously, it is not an $8 billion a year Head Start Program that wastes $8,000 for each of its 1 million disadvantaged students. What they are referring to is a program once called the Perry Preschool Project and Study. At risk, low income, African American students were enrolled in a "high quality" preschool that only remained operational from the years 1962 to 1967. Then, the study part of the project kicked in and 123 children were followed through ages 27 and 40 to see what impact, if any, the Pre-K had on their lives; with almost half of the study group having attended Perry and the rest not having any Pre-K.
By age 40, the Perry group had much lower rates of imprisonment, violent crimes; and out-of-wedlock births. The Perry group also earned more money; had higher rates of home ownership; higher high school graduation rates; and, higher rates of advanced education.
What made Perry so successful when Head Start wasn't?
Perry had fully accredited teachers with bachelor degrees, where Head Start only requires one associate degreed (not accredited) teacher and a non-degreed assistant. Perry's class sizes were about 6 students. Head Start allows a maximum class size of 20 where there is at least one teacher and one assistant. A maximum class size for a teacher-only class is 10. The class day for Perry was just 2.5 hours in the morning; thus not depriving children of also valuable play time and exploration on their own. Head Start is half-day. Additionally, Perry teachers were required to spend 1-1/2 hours a week with each student's parents at their homes to discuss and provide suggestions on how to improve at-home education. That's nowhere to be seen with Head Start.
Lastly, the Perry project was expensive, with a cost of just under $13,000 per student in today's dollars. 62% higher that the $8,000 per student for Head Start. Thus, if we were to spend $13,000 per student today for 8.1 million Pre-K'ers, the cost would be an astounding $104 billion in additional tax payer dollars each year. More than that, Democrats see it as hiring 1.3 million new union teachers that would support them at election time with both money and getting out the vote. Believe me, your kids aren't in their best interest. If they were, we'd have a better overall educational system in this country. We already rank number one in the world in per-student spending. Yet, we rank 36th in overall education when our kids are pitted against students of 65 other countries. Maybe we should work on that problem before committing to another new layer of education that will probably be as broken as the one we already have?
Another Study Confirms: Head Start Doesn’t Work: http://dailysignal.com/2013/01/13/another-study-confirms-head-start-doesnt-work/
Head Start Impact Evaluation Report Finally Released: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/head-start-impact-evaluation-report-finally-released
HHS: Third Grade Follow - up to the Head Start Impact Study: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_report.pdf
Head Start Program: go to fade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_Start_Program#Head_Start_.22fade.22
Head Start Advantages Mostly Gone by 3rd Grade, Study Finds: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2012/12/head_start_advantages_mostly_gone_by_third_grade_study_finds.html
Fact Sheet President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/13/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-plan-early-education-all-americans
Fact Sheet: Hillary Clinton Calls For Universal Preschool for America's Children: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/the-briefing/fact-sheet-universal-pre-school/
Perry Preschool Project: http://evidencebasedprograms.org/1366-2/65-2
Lifetime Effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (2005): http://www.highscope.org/content.asp?contentid=219
Head Start Facts: https://www.naeyc.org/policy/federal/headstart
Head Start Centers and Use of Space: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/teaching/eecd/Learning%20Environments/Planning%20and%20Arranging%20Spaces/edudev_art_00059_051606.html
U.S. education spending tops global list, study shows: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/
New survey ranks U.S. students 36th in the world: http://www.cnycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=978874