Tags: Government Waste | Head Start | Pre-K

Feds Waste $8 Billion a Year on Free Daycare

Friday, 29 August 2014 12:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The biggest asset the left has in it’s drive to fundamentally transform the U.S. is flexibility. By this I don’t mean an ability to alter or re–evaluate programs that don’t work, because the left almost never does that. What I mean is the left’s ability to turn on a dime when it comes to names. Global Warming isn’t working, so it becomes Climate Change.

That was okay for a while, but weather changes frequently and the name is not intrinsically frightening, so the new term is “Climate Disruption.”

Head Start was all smiling children in tiny labs coats on their way to find a cure for gluten, until the failures of the program began to be obvious. So now taxpayers are asked to be happy about an investment — formerly called  spending — in Pre–K education.

This chameleon like ability to change the label without altering the underlying fundamentals no doubt explains the lefts astonishment and fury at the Redskins’ refusal to change it’s name.

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called for an expansion of Head Start into universal Pre–K; a new, more expensive handout from taxpayers.

Changing the name of Head Start to Pre–K and expanding it will cost billions more than Head Start does today — $8 billion a year, with the same lack of results the program has featured in every one of the 48 years of its existence.

Head Start is another money-wasting program left over from Lyndon Johnson's presidency. Just as Johnson declared war on poverty and lost, educrats declared war on the education gap. Ignorance won.

In fact if ever a conflict cried out for an exit strategy, it’s the Great Society.

As a brand new government study proves, Head Start is an abject failure. Russ Whitehurst, of the left–leaning Brookings Institution, described The Head Start Impact Study as, "a randomized controlled trial, the gold-standard for evaluating the effectiveness of social and health programs. And it involves long-term follow-up of participants, which is both highly desirable and very unusual in evaluations of social and education programs.

Whitehurst, after evaluating the results, reluctantly concluded, “There is no measurable advantage to children in elementary school of having participated in Head Start. Further, children attending Head Start remain far behind academically once they are in elementary school. Head Start does not improve the school readiness of children from low-income families.”

Wouldn’t you know it, taxpayers finally get their money’s worth from a study and the results are ignored when it fails to support the administration’s preconceived notions.

Since the study couldn’t find any measurable results — and they couldn’t blame the failure on the Bush administration — the authors decided to try the penumbra trick and speculated that there might be sleeper effects from Head Start; that extensive testing and studies could not identify. Much like the Russian spy couple in “The Americans,” these sleeper effects are busy working undercover to turn these unsuspecting children into future Peace Corps volunteers.

What’s more, this early intervention program produces no results at a cost per child that wildly exceeds what the federal government spends on the rest of education. A Rule of Thumb: Faced with a choice between an early intervention program involving the military that has a real chance of success — Osama pre–2001 — and one that uses social workers, but doesn’t work — Head Start / Pre–K — the left always chooses the sociology majors.

Each child in Head Start costs the taxpayer almost $8,000 per year, compared with the $700 per child that’s spent on all the rest of the primary and secondary federal education programs. This compares very unfavorably with the $2,408 per year the Bush School of Government & Public Service found it cost for the private sector to operate a Pre–K program in Texas.

Even $8,000 per child is a bargain, when compared with the study Obama references when he says Pre–K “works.” This 1967 effort had less than 100 children participating under the care of a platoon of experts. The results were favorable at a cost of $90,000 per year, per child.

For that money you could send two kids to Harvard.

Universal Pre–K is simply free, taxpayer funded daycare. It’s a handout that Democrats hope will result in overwhelming voter support from single and/or working mothers. The miniscule benefits of the program — other than saving mom a fortune in daycare, with no late pickup fees — disappear completely by the third grade.

This could mean public education is so bad it erases the beneficial effects of Head Start.

Or, it could mean even this expensive government babysitting program is no more effective than exposing your child to the entire set of Baby Einstein videos.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

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Changing the name of Head Start to Pre–K and expanding it will cost billions more than Head Start does today.
Government Waste, Head Start, Pre-K
Friday, 29 August 2014 12:43 PM
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