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The Alexandrian: The Alexandria School Board Should End Head Start - Permanently

Both the School Board and the City should do away with Head Start permanently and here's why.

The Alexandria School Board and the City of Alexandria both recently authorized the construction of a new campus for the Jefferson-Houston School (even though the school has failed accreditation).

Included in the new campus's plans are new classrooms for Head Start. Both the School Board and the City should do away with Head Start permanently and here's why.

Politicians at all levels of Government love Head Start because they say they're concerned about early pre-K education and the only way to assure quality pre-K education for underprivileged kids is through a BIG Government program like Head Start.

These same politicians should read the federal government's own research on the benefits of the Head Start program.

The ‘Head Start Impact Study‘ followed and compared underprivileged children who attended Head Start, and underprivileged children who didn’t. The study found no difference in the quality of education received between the two groups of kids.

None, zero, nada, not one difference.

You see, to summarize the study, the kids that went to Head Start did better while they were there but, the benefits they attained in the classroom were gone less than one (1) year after leaving the program.

If the new School Board members like Kelly Carmichael Booz and Karen Graf  really care about the kids, they should be for eliminating programs that aren't beneficial for them.

As the federal government's own research shows, Head Start is an excellent place to begin.

Read more of The Alexandrian at this link.

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Bea Porter January 10, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Head Start provides more than just pre-k instruction, it provides the children with a structured environment where they can begin instruction in education but also learn the social skills that they may not get by being at home until they reach the age for pre-k or kindergarton attendance. A number of children come to school not ready for the experience of learning in a group, or how to interact with other children. There are a lot of skills that need to be taught and in a group environment they can learn these at an early age.
Lee Hernly January 10, 2013 at 07:04 PM
I couldn't agree more with that Bea but, as the research shows, the benefits you described were lost less than one (1) year later. If that's the case, why spend the money?
South Alfred January 14, 2013 at 09:38 PM
The real solution that your argument begs is to improve the quality of education that happens after a student leaves a Head Start program. If children learn good skills during Head Start but do not retain them, isn't the root of the problem posed by this study what happens after Head Start and how that relates to the retention of skills that a child learns during Head Start? Also, how do you justify suggesting that Head Start is a "BIG Goverment program" while at the same time also suggesting that a local school board has the ultimate authority over it? Are you calling all public funded programs "BIG Government" or are you intentionally muddying the issue? Both, perhaps?
Lee Hernly January 14, 2013 at 10:39 PM
"The real solution that your argument begs is to improve the quality of education that happens after a student leaves a Head Start program. If children learn good skills during Head Start but do not retain them, isn't the root of the problem posed by this study what happens after Head Start and how that relates to the retention of skills that a child learns during Head Start?" Not necessarily. Being a TC grad myself, I don't think I would have done nearly as well at TC had it not been for my earlier years at St Stephens. "Also, how do you justify suggesting that Head Start is a "BIG Goverment program" while at the same time also suggesting that a local school board has the ultimate authority over it? " Head Start funding now requires localities to compete for Head Start money rather than receive it automatically through grants, when requested, as they did previously. So, yes, the local School Board has the power over the program.
Xavier January 18, 2013 at 03:31 AM
I'm sorry, but did you even read the report you cited? " At the end of the Head Start year, there was strong evidence that the Head Start group demonstrated better skills on the following six child outcomes related to children’s language and literacy development: (1) Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) (vocabulary); (2) Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III) Letter-Word Identification; (3) WJ III Spelling; (4) WJ III Pre-Academic Skills; (5) Color Identification; and (6) Letter Naming.  Parents of children in the Head Start group reported that their children had more emerging literacy skills at the end of Head Start than did parents of children in the control group. (This measure was not collected when the children were in school.) At the end of 1 st grade, there is suggestive evidence of a positive impact of access to Head Start on PPVT (vocabulary) scores.  At the end of the age 4 year, few statistically significant impacts were found. However, two impacts persisted related to children’s literacy skills. Children in the Head Start group scored higher than children in the control group on CTOPPP Elision as well as on parents’ reports of their literacy skills.
Cyndie Trewhitt February 20, 2013 at 06:11 PM
BTW, the struggles of Jefferson Houston School stem in part from the outdated design of the building, which isn't appropriate for renovation.

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