Education Week reports today on ‘sequester’ pain being felt by the “Great Society Relic” Head Start. Head Start is a federal preschool program to prepare low-income children for kindergarten readiness.
Head Start and Early Head Start serve nearly a million children and families. The programs were funded at nearly $8 billion in fiscal 2012, marking a period of extended growth due in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The sequestration cuts, which represent a 5.27 percent reduction for Head Start from fiscal 2013 spending, take Head Start funding back to approximately $7.6 billion, which is close to where it was in 2008. The administration has framed the reduction as the loss of 70,000 slots.
The article laments the sacrifices being made and the number of children that will not be served. Of course, thousands of parents stand ready to lobby for this “free” government program.
Jolie Whatton has two children who have gone through Head Start. Her daughter Gavyn, 6, is finishing her kindergarten year and spent a year in Head Start. Her 2-year-old son Breyan has been enrolled in Early Head Start since he was 6 months old.
Ms. Whatton, who lives in Tucson, has helped her center collect 1,200 letters and signatures in support of Head Start and is trying to get a personal meeting with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
The article even compares this situation to the air traffic controllers:
And while lawmakers have been quick to end a furlough of air traffic controllers because of flight delays, there has not been the same traction to stave off Head Start funding reductions.
Why no one is rushing to put more money in the Head Start Program? Head Start fails families and has cost the taxpayers more than $180 billion since the 60’s. Right before Christmas last year the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) released a mandated report, Head Start Impact Study. The study consisted of tracking 5,000 three- and four year-old children through third grade. Heritage Foundation Brief highlights the findings:
Overall, Head Start had little to no positive effects for children who were granted access.
For the four-year-old group, compared to similarly situated children not allowed access to Head Start, access to the program failed to raise the cognitive abilities of participants on 41 measures. Specifically, the language skills, literacy, math skills, and school performance of the participating children failed to improve.
Alarmingly, access to Head Start for the three-year-old group actually had a harmful effect on the teacher-assessed math ability of these children once they entered kindergarten. Teachers reported that non-participating children were more prepared in math skills than those children who participated in Head Start.
So when you hear about the “pain” of Head Start, just remind folks of the “pain” this nanny state babysitting service has caused for years!