Head Start works I
Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
In response to the editorial “The Head Start ruse” (Jan. 16 and TribLIVE.com) based on a Wall Street Journal editorial about the Head Start Impact Study: The entire study should be read to fully understand the findings.
The key finding is that “providing access to Head Start has a positive impact on children's preschool experiences. There are statistically significant differences between the Head Start group and the control group on every measure of children's preschool experiences measured in this study.”
The criticism is that there is little difference between the children in Head Start and those in the control group in third grade. In other words, the control group, whose members may have been in another preschool program, caught up to the Head Start students.
Pittsburgh Public Schools serves 1,405 children with Head Start funds. Our data show a significant difference between students who received this service and those who did not. Not only do our Head Start students have higher reading and math outcomes on standardized tests in kindergarten and first grade than those who had an unknown preschool arrangement, they performed better on standardized literacy tests through fourth grade.
The writer is Pittsburgh Public Schools' executive director of early childhood education.
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