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Head Start's Cost Effectiveness Essay

4690 words - 19 pages

The 2008 Presidential Elections are well on their way and many of the candidates are now making claims in order to gain public support; however, one must ask: How valid are their claims on every issue they are presenting to us as the American public, as part of their presidential candidacy? Barack Obama is one of the presidential candidates and one of the issues that Obama is campaigning for is a reform in education. One of the topics in education that Obama is suggesting is instituting a zero to five year old child education program that includes increasing the funding to a program called Head Start, a pre-kindergarten program for many disadvantaged children. As Obama's campaign website states: "Obama's plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten." His program will specifically target children from infants to five years old - trying to help them to be prepared to enter an academic setting. Obama, in one of his speeches, was quoted as saying: "Early childhood education for every child so they're not left behind before they even start school." Obama's plan is to help all young children prepare to enter Kindergarten by having more children participate in Head Start. While sounding good on the surface, one must question what benefit such a program would provide to the children participating in Obama's "zero to five" program - especially in Head Start. Head Start is one of the key points of Obama's plan to reform education; however, Obama's plan does not consider several factors, the primary of which is the fade out phenomenon that occurs for many children that participate in Head Start. Throughout this paper, I would like to present the research of leading child education experts to show why increasing the funding for the Head Start program is not recommended and that for the majority of children, Head Start is an ineffective program for how much it costs to the benefit that is offered to the children who participate in the program.How Head Start Began and its Present StatusHead Start came as a result of President Lyndon B. Johnson's desire to overcome economic struggles of the American People by trying to create a better opportunity for impoverished people to be educated. An education committee was assembled by President Johnson, and the committee quickly put together an education program for young children to be instructed at an earlier age; the committee was given a deadline and threw together a program that became Head Start. Head Start's purpose was to help younger children, especially children in minority groups, to get an early beginning on academics so that the children would be better prepared to enter an academic setting. As can be seen from the table to the left, in 2004 (one of the most recent studies) 62.3% of the participants are either Hispanic or Black, and 52% are four year olds. The most significant information from this chart comes from the...

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