A rigorous and large-scale experimental evaluation, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), finds that the federal Head Start program has essentially no lasting cognitive or behavioral benefits.
The results clearly call into question the federal government’s $8 billion per year commitment to the program.
Far from growing skeptical about Head Start, however, the Obama Administration has proposed increasing funding for it—and, in so doing, even touts the “success” of Head Start and the “historic investments” the Administration has already made in it.
This would seem to spark an obvious question: Why increase funding for a program that doesn’t work?
Surely the mainstream media, in its role as skeptical watchdog and guardian of the public interest, would rush to pose this question to the President or his press secretary. Yet we cannot find this question in the transcript of any White House press briefing.
Perhaps the question has been asked at some point in some other forum, but the HHS study should be a central focus of any debate over Head Start. So far it has not been.
It’s time for reporters covering the White House to start asking pointed questions about Head Start and the other preschool initiatives the President is now proposing.