The Relative Performance of Head Start
In early 2010, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the findings from a large, experimental evaluation of the Head Start program. A common interpretation of the findings is that they show “small” effects, which has lead to, among other things, calls to improve the efficacy of Head Start. However, it is not clear that Head Start is performing worse than should be reasonably expected. To provide a frame of reference for evaluating the program, we compare the performance of Head Start childcare centers to the performance of non-Head Start childcare centers, the latter being the preferred childcare option of wealthier families. We find that, on average, Head Start centers perform similarly to non-Head Start centers. Our results suggest that expectations for the Head Start program may be too high.
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Volume (Year): 38 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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