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Public Comments on Head Start

Today, Policy Integrity submitted public comments on proposed regulations triggered by recent amendments to the Head Start Act. The revisions are aimed at maximizing the federal program’s impact.

To implement the new amendments, the proposed rule would help ensure that only successful Head Start programs continue to receive funding by requiring programs that do not fall in the top 25% on a standard performance measure to reapply for grants.

While programs like Head Start have been linked to increased educational success, research suggests that these gains may be short lived. Over time, studies have found comparable test scores between students who are the beneficiaries of early childhood education and those who aren’t.

At the same time, cost-benefit analyses of early childhood development programs have also shown improvements in the lives of adults, ranging from higher salaries to lower rates of incarceration.

Policy Integrity’s comments suggest greater emphasis on non-cognitive factors when evaluating programs, and recommends greater reliance on quantitative toosl that measures non-cognitive classroom characteristics.