Among wasteful non-disaster-related spending in Congress' $50 billion second Hurricane Sandy relief bill is $100 million that's particularly egregious — because it's for Head Start, which the federal government knows is ineffective but keeps on funding anyway.
Now costing $8 billion annually and having run up more than $180 billion on taxpayers' tab since its 1965 inception, Head Start is supposed to prepare low-income children for school. But it never seems to live up to its billing. Evaluations in 1969, 1985 and 2005 showed that any positive cognitive effect Head Start makes doesn't last.
So does a new evaluation, which found that “you can't tell Head Start alumni from their non-Head Start peers” by the time they reach third grade, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Obama administration apparently was hoping no one would notice. That latest evaluation was more than a year overdue when the Department of Health and Human Services finally released it — on the Friday before Christmas, when most taxpayers were otherwise occupied — and only after Republicans in Congress questioned what was taking so long.
The Journal points out that wasting money isn't the only reason to quit funding Head Start, saying that “misleading low-income parents about the efficacy of a program is cruel ... .”
Yet “Congress will use the political cover of disaster relief to throw more good money after bad policy,” The Journal says. For taxpayers and low-income kids, that's a disaster in itself.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.