Excerpt on Head Start Program
It would have been worth the $166 billion taxpayers have spent on the program since 1965 if a significant portion of Head Start alumni did improve their educational outcomes and escape poverty. But that did not happen. As any number of studies have demonstrated over the years, the effects of Head Start are modest to nugatory. Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom chronicled the failure in No Excuses. One study found that Head Start students were slightly more likely to be immunized than others — a good thing of course, but a) not primarily what the program was sold as, and b) achievable far more cheaply through other programs like Medicaid. A 1969 study found that any gains participants displayed faded away in the early grades. By third grade, Head Start graduates were indistinguishable from their non-participating classmates.