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3 Replies to “Weekend Op-Eds”
Per the NY Times: Head Start costs the taxpayers $22,000/year per child? Seriously? That’s more than twice the average cost of day care, according to the article. I’ll bet that $22K a year is more than the yearly income of the parent using Head Start. Maybe before spending more money on this program, we should: (1) Figure out why it costs so much (with little read apparent educational benefit); (2) Encourage low-income adults to delay having children until they can afford them (or until they can contribute more meaningfully to their financial requirements).
Head Start -should- be making an impact, and it’s mind-boggling that it isn’t. Are the surveys missing something? It doesn’t seem possible that Head Start classes, en masse, would have basically no benefit. Definitely a mystery worth looking in to…
I’m puzzled by where Mr. Besharov and Mr. Call got these figures. Head Start costs nowhere near $22,600. For FY08, the per-child cost was less than $8,000. More importantly, Head Start IS making an impact. In recent studies, Head Start children made significant gains in early literacy skills. In fact, just one year of Head Start has proven to close the achievement gap by up to 50%.
Of course, the program can improve with better professional development and better compensated teachers—so all the more reason to invest in it! If a program that has not received full funding can already achieve such “modest” results, imagine what it can do if we paid more attention to investing in our human capital and infrastructure in the economic stimulus debate.