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Harvard Dean and Princeton-Brookings on Value of Head Start

Two Articles Published This Week

Cutting Head Start is bad fiscal policy

Cutting Head Start is bad fiscal policy by Kathleen McCartney (special to CNN).  McCartney is dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Gerald S. Lesser professor in early childhood development.


• Kathleen McCartney: Cutting Head Start childhood education is false economy, will cost later

• Head Start kids score higher on measures of success in adulthood, she writes

• McCartney says the program enables poor parents to work and to earn more

• Congressional budget proposals seem to reflect ideology, not evidence, she writes

Head Start: To Cut or Not to Cut?

Head Start: To Cut or Not to Cut? by Lauren Moore.  Moore is Project Manager with The Future of Children, a collaboration between the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.

This article and reader comment offers further thoughts on evaluations of the effectiveness and positive influence of Head Start including:

• 2010 HHS evaluation of Head Start, which analyzed (1) the overall impact of the Head Start program and (2) the program's impact on seven subgroups, which showed a number of favorable impacts at first grade in the cognitive, social-emotional, and health domains for children most at risk of failing academically and those with limited proficiency in English.

• Distinguishing high quality Head Start programs from lower performing programs.

• Lasting positive effects on children in other areas such as future college attendance and fewer criminal offenses in young adulthood, among others.  Head Start provides a critical entry point for services other than education including health care, oral health services, parenting skills, and behavior modification.

• Value of Head Start that focuses on social and emotional skills, in addition to academic skills.

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