Strengthening Head Start:
What the Evidence Shows

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

June 2003

This report is available on the Internet at:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/StrengthenHeadStart03/index.htm

How to Obtain a Printed Copy

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Children in Head Start are not getting what they need to succeed in school
    1. Most children enter and leave Head Start with below-average skill and knowledge levels
    2. Disadvantaged children lag behind throughout the school years
      • Children with multiple risks suffer the greatest educational disadvantage
      • The achievement gap for disadvantaged children widens during kindergarten
      • The achievement gap persists into elementary and high school
  3. Fragmented service delivery hinders improvements in Head Start
    1. Coordination is critical
    2. Fragmentation causes problems
    3. There are many barriers to coordination
  4. Research evidence shows we can do better in helping children achieve
    1. Research has identified what children need to succeed in school
      • Children are better off if they enter kindergarten with cognitive resources
      • Child development research shows which areas of competency to target
    2. The right programs and training can improve children’s school readiness
      • The Chicago Child-Parent Center (CPC) Program
      • The Abecedarian Project
      • The Perry Preschool Study
      • Professional Development Models
    3. Efficiency can be improved through coordination
    4. States are working to produce better programs for children
  5. Conclusions
  6. The President’s plan will strengthen Head Start and enable coordination of early childhood systems

Appendix A
Endnotes

References


How to Obtain a Printed Copy

To obtain a printed copy of this report, send or fax the title and your mailing information to:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Fax: (202) 690-6562

You may also print this PDF version (584KB), which is “printer friendly.”


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Last updated:  06/09/03