PHSA Talking Points Responding to USA Today Editorial

Talking Points – for local calls generated by USA TODAY editorial

Head Start works. The very first conclusion (page iv of the Executive Summary) states clearly that at the end of their time in Head Start children significantly outperformed the control group “on every measure of children’s preschool experiences.”   This study demonstrates that Head Start programs are of good or better quality than other early childhood programs and finds favorable cognitive, socio-emotional, and health impacts for children who attended Head Start and positive impacts on parenting practices.

But, Head Start’s real and proven long-term effects are found in issues important to us all. There is a significant body of research that has found important long term effects of Head Start, such as

a.       Increased high school graduation rates,

b.      Fewer grade repetitions,

c.       Fewer kids going into special education classes,

d.      Higher vocabulary levels,

e.       Better emotional development

f.        Reduced mortality rates of young kids,

g.       Families moving out of poverty, and

h.      Significant impact on long-term outcomes of adults 19 years or older who attended Head Start.


Above all – REMEMBER: Head Start works in local communities for children every day. Despite volumes of research, studies and analysis – every teacher and parent knows the common sense impact of Head Start.  Local programs know how important Head Start is to schools, doctors and dentists, police and social services.  It is important to share local success and not let political agendas hijack your good work.  Invite your local media to your program and share with them your program’s successes.