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  • Cowboy Preschool

    Sen. Harry Reid’s (D–NV) comments yesterday about cowboy poetry may have received the most attention on the Senate floor yesterday morning, but his pleas for the failed Head Start preschool program were just as preposterous. Arguing against the omnibus spending bill under consideration, the Senator said:

    Here are some of the consequences. … It will kick 200,000 Head Start students, the poorest of the poor—little boys and girls trying to get started in life—it will kick them off their ability to learn to read and do elementary math. Hundreds in Nevada will suffer from that. This is a very successful early education program. Head Start works.

    To say that Reid’s claims about the merits of Head Start are disingenuous would be the understatement of the year.

    An evaluation conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services—the agency that administers Head Start—found that the program, which provides taxpayer-funded preschool to low-income children, has been wholly ineffective at improving academic outcomes for the children it was created to serve.

    According to the 2010 Head Start Impact Study, the program failed to improve the cognitive abilities of four-year-old children and actually had a harmful effect on the math skills of three-year-old children, according to teacher assessments. Overall, this 45-year-old Great Society relic failed to have a positive impact on 110 out of 112 outcomes measured.

    As tragic as the negative academic outcomes are, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) also recently found fraudulent activity within the Head Start program. An undercover investigation revealed that Head Start staff told fictitious families sent in by GAO to misrepresent their eligibility for services by, among other things, disregarding portions of family income to make the families eligible for participation.

    Contrary to Senator Reid’s claims, Head Start is anything but successful. More than $150 billion has been expended on Head Start since its creation in 1965, with no positive impact on low-income children.

    If Members of Congress were truly interested in raising the academic achievement levels of low-income children and ensuring kindergarten readiness—Head Start’s stated mission—they would no longer relegate them to a poor-performing government preschool program. As long as the federal government continues to be in the game of funding preschool, Members like Reid should fight to allow these children to attend a preschool provider of choice.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Cowboy Preschool

    1. Bobbie says:

      Mr. Reid, you are so overly dramatic. You should've put your talent where it belongs, In acting and keep your hands out of the tax payers pocket.

      Mr. Reid, have you no faith in people? have you no respect in individual/parental responsibilities? Have you know decency to hold people responsible to their own? How do you define poor when you don't consider income? Everyone that isn't white? You're despicable, Mr. Reid. Everyone in this country should appreciate this country is a nation of freedom and responsibility to do it yourself.

      Head start is nothing more then a convenience to parents of double income and single parents with a job at less or no cost. If people choose the act in their control that results in human life, makes it their responsibility to provide, Mr. Reid, I'm afraid to wonder who you put in place of your parental responsibilities?

      If government hadn't crowded their minds with conveniences, people would have the dignity to figure it out for themselves and respect their responsibility to do so and appreciate the upbringing of their children under their control and not government influence, conflicting to parental upbringing.. The removal of head start will increase the private sector day care centers allowing the freedom to prosper, without your slated hand.

      People with cultural lifestyles will have a daycare more suited to their cultural lifestyles without infringement of their cultures expense put on tax payers.

      People came to this country to make something of themselves but you destroy that drive by socialist government influence. If people realized the dangerous influence of government involvement they would make more rational decisions. Like not having children they can't afford. The responsibility is the parents, Mr. Reid. The intrusion is government control in education from pre through college. Quit calling people poor. All people deserve much higher respect than your party is willing to recognize.

    2. Charlotte Harrison B says:

      If only Head Start had the accountability procedures in place that they have now. Now we have 360 view cameras in a limited number of centers plus intercom audio surveillance in each and every Head Start classroom. At any time, a center director, a district specialist, or even a representative from the Atlanta regional office can monitor a Head Start classroom. These electronic capabilities have changed the climate of accountability in all Head Start centers. In the "old days" (back in the 1980's), teacher dominion and "old school" values were the key reasons why the programs weren't working. The Head Start teachers were untrained high school graduates who were managing their classrooms the only way they new how; they modeled their teaching styles after the parenting styles of their own mothers. Since there were no cameras or mutable intercoms in the classrooms, no one was the wiser about how the teacher was managing her class. The kids were sitting quietly, the shelves were neat and tidy, and the rooms were well swept, and the toys were clean. No one knew that the kids were sitting quietly because they were intimidated by the teacher. No one knew that the toys stayed organized and clean because they kids weren't allowed to play with them. The floors stayed clean because the kids were either sitting on the rug, sitting at their tables, or they were sitting on the toilet during potty time! No one knew that the kids spent most of their school day waiting to be told what to do nextg. The locus of control was in the hands of the teacher and the teacher alone. It all looked good when the director walked by and peeped into the classroom observation window two or three times a week. The teacher managed the class as she saw fit and that was that. At the end of the week, the teacher and her assistment would doctor up the paperwork to reflect the Head Start curriculum and assessment and everything looked good for the center director.

      Now we have cameras in the classrooms and mutable intercoms so that the teacher-child interactions can be closely monitored for quality assurance. Head Start will be enforcing the educational requirments for teachers and assistants by 2013, from what has been reported. The government may push this deadline out to 2020, which is a pity. Isn't it about time that Head Start is forced to staff their programs with qualified teachers who have at leastr an Associate Degree in Child Development or Early Childhood Technology? As long as we have these high school graduates running these classrooms at Head Start, we're never going to get this program running properly.

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