The massive social spending bill the Left is attempting to foist on America provides for free universal Pre-K for 3 and 4-year-old children. The proposal is modeled after the decades-old Head Start Program.
Head Start was launched in 1965 to get kids from low-income families prepped for kindergarten. In 2012, after extensive research into results, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed its conclusion that Head Start, by then a nearly $8 billion program, had “little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of participants.” Today, Head Start appropriations exceed $10.7 billion per year.
The research showed that kids who didn’t participate in Head Start were better prepared in math than the ones who started the program at age three. The results dovetailed with those of other federal studies of Head Start done in 1969, 1985, and 2005 all showing the program’s fleeting benefits. Head Start’s current price tag is over $10,200 per student per year.
We’re not getting our money’s worth.
As Lindsey Burke, Director of the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation points out: “Much of that spending supports Head Start staff salaries, as the program now acts as a federal jobs program for a quarter of a million adults.” She says this proposal “doesn’t ‘Build Back Better.’ It’s building back bureaucracy.”
Federal preschool programs diminish flexibility for parents by crowding out what most families prefer: small, private childcare and preschool providers.
The Left continues to push government-funded preschools as a way to begin influencing kids early in life.
But loving parents are the best influence of all on little ones. Parents’ daily interactions with their kids transmits their values and, with a little effort, teaches skills. Parents who want or need care outside the home for these little ones can evaluate and choose from a web of resources: relatives, friends, home settings, and church-based preschools.
Head Start is the last thing we need.