Reallocate Head Start Funds to Effective Education Programs

Reallocate Head Start

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Stop funding the ineffective educational program Head Start, in favor of reforming existing programs with proven long-term benefits.

Head Start is the federal government’s largest early education program, serving nearly 1 million children a year at a cost of $7 billion in taxpayer money each year. Despite findings by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proving Head Start ineffective past the first grade, President Obama continues to distribute taxpayer money toward the failing program. Please sign this petition and urge President Obama to stop investing in Head Start’s ineffective model, and reallocate funds to programs with proven success rates.

Head Start was concocted under President Johnson as part of his War on Poverty, then run out of the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare. In an attempt to rebuild poor communities from the bottom up, Head Start was launched in 1965 to provide holistic education to poor 3- and 4-year-old children. Run largely by local agencies with strained funds and staffing, Head Start has transformed into a jobs program employing a range of professions in a period of deep unemployment. The program’s role in employment is highlighted by the fact that it is run by the Department of Health and Human Services, rather than the Department of Education. It would be harmful to the economy to lose this many federal employees, yet federal funding is being wasted in a program that does not benefit children.

During reauthorization of the program in 1998, Congress mandated an evaluation of Head Start that revealed the program as having little impact on student well-being. According to the evaluation by the HHS, “the benefits to access to Head Start at age four are largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole. For 3-year-olds, there are few sustained benefits, although access to the program may lead to improved parent-child relationships through 1st grade…” Rather than spending $7 billion dollars on a program that helps 1 million children for 3 to 4 years, the federal government must invest in long-term results with evidence based practices.

Since the program’s inception in 1965, taxpayers have wasted more than $100 billion on the Head Start program. Despite federal investigation revealing no lasting effect past the first grade, and no difference between children who have attended Head Start and those that haven’t, billions of dollars are being pumped into the program annually. Please sign this petition and urge President Obama to reallocate Head Start funds to smarter investments in education.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Obama,

Despite federal reports revealing Head Start as a failing attempt to educationally empower poor children, you continue to use taxpayer money to fund the ineffective and costly program. Nearly 1 million children a year take part in the $7 billion-a-year program that only shows results for 3 to 4 years following participation. Head Start is built on an old model that does not reflect advances in early childhood education. During a time when education and investment are most important to our nation’s longevity, it is imperative for the federal government to support results based programs with proven outcomes.

An evaluation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was mandated by Congress during reauthorization in 1998. Even though HHS is responsible for Head Start, they found “few sustained benefits” and little impact on student well-being. According to the report, “the benefits of access to Head Start at age four are largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole. For 3-year-olds, there are few sustained benefits, although access to the program may lead to improved parent-child relationships through 1st grade…” Unfortunately, Head Start is unable to meet its mission using the methods and models established in the government’s program. An ineffective program costing $7 billion in taxpayer money a year is a waste of taxpayer money.

Please reallocate the billions of dollars set aside for Head Start each year. Many modern early childhood education programs are built on evidence-based practices and proven outcomes. Enrich our children’s future by making smart investments in their present.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ehow via Yahoo

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44 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
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  • Marianne Oelman
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