A Study on the Long Term Impact of Head Start
- Friday, August 26th, 2016
The Brooking’s Hamilton Project has released a study on the long term impact of Head Start. The study starts off by saying the following:
"A growing body of rigorous evidence suggests that policy interventions aimed at early childhood bear fruit for decades. For example, reductions in air pollution in the first year of life and more experienced kindergarten teachers are associated with increases in later earnings, while childhood access to food stamps and Medicaid causes better health in adulthood. Across many studies of several programs, preschool attendance among disadvantaged children has been found to positively impact participants. Research has demonstrated strong long-term impacts of random assignment to high-quality preschool programs from the 1960s and 1970s, including Perry Preschool and the Abecedarian program. Head Start, the large-scale federal preschool program, has also been shown to improve post-preschool outcomes, including high school completion and health outcomes."
The study concludes with:
"The research literature is increasingly documenting that experiences during childhood can profoundly influence later-life outcomes, and that interventions during childhood can generate cost-effective improvements in life circumstances. This economic analysis extends what we know about the long-term impacts of Head Start, thereby contributing to the current debate about preschool policies. We find that Head Start not only enhances eventual educational attainment, but also has a lasting positive impact on behavioral outcomes including self-control and self-esteem. Furthermore, it improves parenting practices—potentially providing additional benefits to the next generation."
Read the complete study online as a PDF at http://www.hamiltonproject.org/assets/files/long_term_impact_of_head_start_program.pdf.