Evaluating Head Start

August 26, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 29
Does it help poor children and their parents?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

A 4-year-old eats breakfast at a Head Start Center in Shreveport, La. Critics say Head Start focuses too much on providing health care and nutrition while neglecting basic skills, such as recognizing alphabet letters.  (Getty Images/Mario Villafuerte)
A 4-year-old eats breakfast at a Head Start Center in Shreveport, La. Critics say Head Start focuses too much on providing health care and nutrition while neglecting basic skills, such as recognizing alphabet letters. (Getty Images/Mario Villafuerte)

Since its founding in 1965, the federal preschool program has offered poor children and their parents comprehensive services ranging from health care to parenting education. Preliminary data from the first nationwide appraisal of the program show that Head Start youngsters do better on some intellectual, behavioral and health measures than similar children not enrolled in Head Start. But some critics say the program should dispense with health care and parental education in order to focus on pre-academic skills. To improve Head Start's performance, the Bush administration proposed turning it over to the states, but Congress refused; instead it wants to require half of all Head Start teachers to obtain B.A. degrees or higher by 2011. Meanwhile, states are launching their own preschool programs, raising new questions about whether Head Start — now serving some 900,000 youngsters — should be under federal or state control.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education Issues
Mar. 10, 2017  Charter Schools
Feb. 03, 2017  Civic Education
Sep. 05, 2014  Race and Education
Jun. 13, 2014  Dropout Rate
May 09, 2014  School Discipline
Mar. 07, 2014  Home Schooling
Dec. 02, 2011  Digital Education
Nov. 15, 2011  Expanding Higher Education
Dec. 10, 2010  Preventing Bullying Updated
Apr. 16, 2010  Revising No Child Left Behind
Mar. 26, 2010  Teen Pregnancy
Sep. 04, 2009  Financial Literacy
Jun. 05, 2009  Student Rights
Feb. 22, 2008  Reading Crisis?
Jul. 13, 2007  Students Under Stress
Apr. 27, 2007  Fixing Urban Schools Updated
Nov. 10, 2006  Video Games Updated
Mar. 03, 2006  AP and IB Programs
Oct. 07, 2005  Academic Freedom
Aug. 26, 2005  Evaluating Head Start
May 27, 2005  No Child Left Behind
Jan. 17, 2003  Home Schooling Debate
Sep. 06, 2002  Teaching Math and Science
Jun. 07, 2002  Grade Inflation
Dec. 07, 2001  Distance Learning
Apr. 20, 2001  Testing in Schools
May 14, 1999  National Education Standards
Apr. 10, 1998  Liberal Arts Education
Jul. 26, 1996  Attack on Public Schools
May 17, 1996  Year-Round Schools
Oct. 20, 1995  Networking the Classroom
Sep. 22, 1995  High School Sports
Jan. 20, 1995  Parents and Schools
Sep. 09, 1994  Home Schooling
Mar. 25, 1994  Private Management of Public Schools
Mar. 11, 1994  Education Standards
Apr. 09, 1993  Head Start
Nov. 30, 1990  Conflict Over Multicultural Education
Feb. 05, 1988  Preschool: Too Much Too Soon?
Oct. 23, 1987  Education Reform
Aug. 24, 1984  Status of the Schools
Sep. 10, 1982  Schoolbook Controversies
Sep. 03, 1982  Post-Sputnik Education
Aug. 18, 1978  Competency Tests
Jan. 26, 1972  Public School Financing
Nov. 03, 1971  Education for Jobs
Apr. 15, 1970  Reform of Public Schools
Aug. 27, 1969  Discipline in Public Schools
Dec. 27, 1968  Community Control of Public Schools
Jun. 14, 1965  Summer School Innovations
Oct. 28, 1964  Education of Slum Children
Jun. 05, 1963  Year-Round School
Mar. 28, 1962  Mentally Retarded Children
Dec. 17, 1958  Educational Testing
Sep. 25, 1957  Liberal Education
Jul. 11, 1956  Educational Exchange
Feb. 02, 1955  Federal Aid for School Construction
Mar. 07, 1951  Education in an Extended Emergency
Nov. 20, 1945  Postwar Public Education
Nov. 07, 1941  Standards of Education
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Early Childhood Education