Thread: GOP Wins Again
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:22 AM   #9

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According to the Head Start Impact Study, which was quite comprehensive, the positive effects of the program were minimal and vanished by the end of first grade. Head Start graduates performed about the same as students of similar income and social status who were not part of the program. These results were so shocking that the HHS team sat on them for several years, according to Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution, who said, "I guess they were trying to rerun the data to see if they could come up with anything positive. They couldn't."

The Head Start situation is a classic among government-run social programs. Why do so many succeed as pilots and fail when taken to scale? In this case, the answer is not particularly difficult to unravel. It begins with a question: Why is Head Start an HHS program and not run by the Department of Education? The answer: Because it is a last vestige of Johnson's War on Poverty, which was run out of the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The War on Poverty attempted to rebuild poor communities from the bottom up, using local agencies called community action programs. These outfits soon proved slovenly; often they were little more than patronage troughs for local Democratic Party honchos and, remarkably, to this day, they remain the primary dispensers of Head Start funds. As such, they are far more adept at dispensing make-work jobs than mastering the subtle nuances of early education. "The argument that Head Start opponents make is that it is a jobs program," a senior Obama Administration official told me, "and sadly, there is something to that."
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