The article notes that a review of Head Start found that, despite having superior school readiness outcomes at the end of the program than their similarly at-risk peers, children in the program had largely lost those gains by the third grade.
Supports should continue once children enter school
“The question shouldn’t be what happened in Head Start but what happened after the children left the program,” Moreno says. She explains that students in the programs often do not maintain their gains afterward because they enter school systems that do not provide the same comprehensive support.
According to Moreno, Head Start is well-documented as providing among the highest quality early educational settings in the U.S., and consistently producing children who are ready for school.
Rather than using the fade-out effect as evidence for cutting Head Start, she says energy should be focused on reducing inequities that exist once children enter school, and on providing further supports for the children who need it most.