ERIC Number: ED045690
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Jul-14
Reference Count: 0
The Politics of Evaluation: The Case of Head Start.
Williams, Walter; Evans, John W.
The historical, political and economic climate in the mid-1960's was ripe for a head-on collision between two conflicting ideologies. On the one hand, there was President Johnson's War on Poverty. The Head Start summer programs were begun in late 1964 as the archetype of the hope to improve the lives of the poor. On the other hand, was the implementation of the Planning, Programming, Budgeting System (PPBS) by the Federal Government under the premise that thorough analysis could produce a flow of information that would greatly improve the basis for decision making. Evaluation was fundamental to the thinking of PPBS. The clash between methodology, political forces, and bureaucracy loomed fearfully in those early days. Many individual project evaluations were undertaken mainly focusing on the summer programs, although a number of full-year programs had now been funded. This was the context in which the Westinghouse Study was given the task of assessing, in a reasonably short time, the overall effectiveness of the total program. The results caused a great stir because they showed the program to be "ineffectual" over the long term. The methodological and conceptual validity are the explicit focal point of the controversy. However, after reviewing the major criticism, an overall assessment of the methodological and conceptual base indicates that the study is a "relatively" good one and does provide useful information for decision making. (CK)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: PROJECT HEAD START
Note: Prepared for Annals of American Academy of Political Science