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Getting inside the "Black Box" of Head Start quality: What matters and what doesn't

  • Currie, Janet
  • Neidell, Matthew

Critics of Head Start contend that many programs spend too much money on programs extraneous to education. On the other hand, Head Start advocates argue that severely disadvantaged children need a broad range of services. Given the available evidence, it has been impossible to assess the validity of these claims. In this study, we match detailed administrative data with data on child outcomes from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, including test scores, behavior problems, and grade repetition. We find that former Head Start children have higher reading scores and are less likely to have been retained in grade where Head Start spending was higher. Holding per capita expenditures constant, children in programs that devoted higher shares of their budgets to education and health have fewer behavior problems and are less likely to have been retained in grade. However, when we examine specific educational inputs holding per capita expenditures constant, only pupil/teacher ratios matter.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VB9-4JMKN20-1/2/c65f95bc224f15d8edcbf5c57db6d47f
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 83-99

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:26:y:2007:i:1:p:83-99
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Jonathan Guryan, 2003. "Does Teacher Testing Raise Teacher Quality? Evidence from State Certification Requirements," NBER Working Papers 9545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Garces, E. & Thomas, D. & Currie, J., 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," Papers 00-20, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  3. Alan B. Krueger, 2003. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F34-F63, February.
  4. Thomas, D. & Currie, J., 1993. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," Papers 694, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  5. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 6362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1996. "Does Head Start Help Hispanic Children?," NBER Working Papers 5805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Janet Currie, 2000. "Early Childhood Intervention Programs: What Do We Know?," JCPR Working Papers 169, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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