Hechinger’s Reports, not exactly a conservative group, recently released “Federal report finds scant scientific evidence for effectiveness of Head Start programs” concerning the disturbing news that yet another report on the federal Head Start preschool program has been released, this one from the technically oriented What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), which analyzes reports on education for scientific rigor.
Per Hechinger, the WWC reports that all but one of the 90 different Head Start reports it examined failed to meet standards for rigor.
Just one report did meet rigor standards, and Hechinger says that report:
“…showed rather disappointing results. It found that Head Start had ‘potentially positive effects’ on general reading achievement and ‘no discernible effects’ on mathematics achievement and social-emotional development for 3-year-old and 4-year-old children.”
All of this seems like rather thin evidence to support the huge investment this nation makes in Head Start. It also adds to my concerns that if so many reports about Head Start are not technically sufficient, then other reports about other preschool programs might not be very well done, either.
On June 22, 2015 I appeared on Kentucky Tonight talking about the forthcoming education year and its issues. I was asked about preschool programs. I said that if I had good evidence they worked, I’d support them.
I’m still looking – and it looks like I’m not the only one still looking – for good evidence – and it doesn’t seem to be available.