ERIC Number: ED478702
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jul-22
Reference Count: N/A
Education and Care: Head Start Key among Array of Early Childhood Programs, but National Research on Effectiveness Not Completed. Testimony before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, U. S. Senate.
Shaul, Marnie S.
Noting that the federal government spends more on Head Start than on any other early childhood education and care program, this report was requested by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to describe how Head Start fits into the array of early childhood education and care programs available to low-income children and their families and to discuss what is known about the program's effectiveness. The report notes that Head Start, created in 1965, is the largest funded program among an array of six major federal early childhood education and care programs, most of which did not exist until years later. Additional federal programs were added to help meet families' demands for services due to changes in women's employment, family structure, and public assistance. Program legislation requires some of these programs to coordinate the delivery and education and care services. The report identifies barriers, such as differing program eligibility requirements, that make it difficult to blend services across different programs. The report also notes that although extensive research provides important information about Head Start and its participants' skills, no recent, definitive, national-level research exists concerning Head Start's effectiveness as it pertains to the lives of the children and families it serves. In the last Head Start reauthorization, Congress mandated an effectiveness study and specified that it be completed in 2003. The report describes the design of a study being conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide more definitive information on Head Start's effectiveness in preparing young children for school to be completed in 2006; however, no preliminary results are currently available. (KB)
Descriptors: At Risk Persons, Compensatory Education, Cooperation, Early Childhood Education, Federal Legislation, Federal Programs, Low Income Groups, Preschool Education, Program Descriptions, Program Effectiveness
U.S. General Accounting Office, 441 G Street, NW, Room LM, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-2537; Fax: 202-512-6061; Web site://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/ordtab.pl. For full text: http://www.gao.gov/atext/d03840t.txt.
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.