Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Evidence should matter, even for Head Start

For those of us who have long advocated randomized experiments in education research, yesterday's supportive New York Times article was encouraging. But the Times, all too typically, does not question why the Obama administration has dismissed experimental evidence on Head Start and universal preschool. I noted this strange omission on The Corner today:
As good as it is, though, the Times article omits a crucial fact: The Obama administration has ignored rigorous evaluations when the results are politically inconvenient.

Take Head Start. Experimental evidence has repeatedly shown that Head Start has essentially no impact on children’s cognitive or social development by the time they reach first grade. But right after last fall’s third-grade follow-up again showed no impact, the administration proposed to increase funding for Head Start, citing the “success” of the program!
Read the rest here. And I strongly recommend my coauthored essay in Real Clear Politics, which details the disconnect between rhetoric and evidence in the education policy world.

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