School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start
Research on Head Start suggests that effects on test scores "fade out" more quickly for black children than for white children. We use data from the 1988 wave of the National Educational Longitudinal Survey to show that Head Start black children go on to attend schools of worse quality than other black children. We do not see any similar pattern among whites. Moreover, when we stratify by an indicator of school quality, gaps in test scores between Head Start and other children are very similar for blacks and whites. Hence, the effects of Head Start may fade out more rapidly among black students, at least in part because black Head Start children are more likely to subsequently attend inferior schools.
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