Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Making people feel like they are solving a problem vs. really making a difference

Too often in politics programs are created with the hope that efforts will make a difference, but way too often all the time and money has little positive effect.

Jay Greene reports on an instance of this problem in Head Start Basically Has No Effect:

The Department of Health and Human Services has been sitting on an evaluation of the Head Start government run pre-school program. Well, the study was released.
As the leaks suggested, the study found virtually no lasting effects to participation in Head Start. The study used a gold-standard, random assignment design and had a very large nationally representative sample. This was a well done study.
For students who were randomly assigned to Head Start or not at the age of 4, the researchers collected 19 measures of cognitive impacts at the end of kindergarten and 22 measures when those students finished 1st grade. Of those 41 measures, only 1 was significant and positive. The remaining 40 showed no statistically significant difference. The one significant effect was for receptive vocabulary, which showed no significant advantage for Head Start students after kindergarten but somehow re-emerged at the end of 1st grade.


I'm afraid rather than cancelling Head Start, lots of people involved will look for ways to "fix" it, or create their own studies trying to find some positive benefits.

Instapundit also has some links on this report:

How the Media Are Covering ‘Head Start’s’ Failure

Long Overdue Head Start Evaluation Shows No Lasting Benefit for Children

Technorati tags: Head Start


homeschool101 said...

Ya that is the truth. Pretty sad. The government just wants to find ways to make things work that are not meant to work and tax payers get to pay for it. Another way to blow money and allow the Government more control then they deserve. That sad thing is where are the people and why are then not stepping up to their duties to stop the government. Ill tell you where, at home cowering behind the door. Too many sit in silence because they dont understand their rights or want to understand or even want to get involved. That is so sad.

I feel terribly sorry for the coming generations that will have a screwball world to live in if they make it that far.

Henry Cate said...

"Too many sit in silence because they dont understand their rights or want to understand or even want to get involved."

I agree these have all been problems in the past. I have some hope that things are changing. It appears more people are getting involved, and they have some understanding of the proper role of government.

At one level I do worry about what the next generation will suffer, but at another level it is still much better then a hundred years ago. The Great Depression was a time when many were at some risk of dying of starvation. I think our country is now rich enough that while this hard economic time is painful, I think we will all live.

Vaccine Dangers said...

Head start is designed so both parents can work. I am not suprised at the findings. In my opinion there needs to be more support, grants, etc for stay at home parent as well as homeschooling parents. Moms or Dads should be rewarded for staying home with kids for the first six years and or home schooling threw all childhood. The gov does not focus on family needs and values as far as I can tell much of the systems out there are designed to undermine family, yet there is good but should be more.

They get you right where they want you!

That is why I do the oposite of what the gov recomends lol! My kids have never been to daycare, preschool or school for that matter and we no longer vaccinate and I do not take them for well checks anymore, we do business at home and enjoy our family time.

lifeisagift said...

I agree if they cancel head start people will do something different and it could be a step tourd change unfortunetly most americans will complain, intead of look for a solution.

And I am sorry but many people are just to lazy to fix the problems they have, let alone our nations!

Henry Cate said...

"That is why I do the oposite of what the gov recomends lol!"

That is a great line.

lifeisagift - To an extend the Minuteman Lobbyist is an effort to help people to get started by taking babysteps.