Report says anti-poverty program Head Start is 'ineffective'

Posted at 8:08 AM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 12:05:49-05

A new report says the anti-poverty program Head Start is not serving kids equally in all states.

The National Institute for Early Education and Research conducted the study for the 2014-2015 year. It says disparities in federal funding, teacher pay and turnaround, and quality makes Head Start ineffective in many states.

Only two states were exceeding the study's research threshold in the 2014-2015 year, neither of which are Kansas or Missouri. Eighteen states were significantly below standard.

Missouri receives more federal funding than Kansas, at $149,016,605 compared to $63,763,428, respectively.

The report shows similarities between the two states. Teachers make less than the national average, and significantly less than public school teachers. The majority of their students come from single-parent families on government assistance.

Early Head Start serves kids from infancy to toddler-age. Head Start serves kids around three to four years old.

In Missouri, EHS teachers made $28,000 per year compared to the national average of $29,000. Head Start teachers also made $28,000 per year, compared to the national average of $33,000. Public school teachers made nearly $47,000 that year.

Kansas HS and EHS teachers made slightly more, around $33,000 compared to public school teachers who made nearly $49,000 that year. 

Funding per child in Missouri is slightly above the national average.

Those numbers in Kansas vary. EHS funding per child is $8,462, below the national average of $12,575. HS funding per child is $8,289, above the national average of $8,038.

Eleven percent of kids enrolled in Kansas attended Head Start for at least 1,020 hours per year, below the national average of 42 percent. NIEER says new standards will require at least 1,020 hours per year by August 2021 to give kids enough time to make strong developments.

NIEER says Head Start programs are short $14 billion dollars. Head Start is set to receive 20 percent more in the coming year, but it doesn't include increased pay for teachers.

Take a look at the complete report here.




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