Adults can be strange sometimes. Create a government program. Make it about helping little kids like me. Give it a catchy name like “Head Start.” Spend billions of dollars. And then when the evidence repeatedly shows it doesn’t work? Just ignore it.
Okay, not all adults have that mindset. But it’s funny to see the reaction some have when the idea of cutting 15 percent of Head Start’s budget is introduced. Writing at National Review, Mona Charen takes on the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne. She criticizes him for being “impervious to evidence,” and then opines the following:
It would have been worth the $166 billion taxpayers have spent on the program since 1965 if a significant portion of Head Start alumni did improve their educational outcomes and escape poverty. But that did not happen.
I’ve written about Head First once before, when I noticed the findings documented by the Heritage Foundation. Given the findings are quite indisputable, how about we just start with a little bit of honesty? How about ‘fessing up that Head Start isn’t nearly as great as it was promised to be? A 15 percent cut isn’t the end of the world. Far from it, in fact.
Elsewhere in her piece, Charen notes that Mr. Dionne has “a warm heart,” which I don’t doubt for a moment. Taken together, a warm heart and a cool head could see that I’d be very glad if those big people in government save a substantial portion of Head Start’s billions and help save me from a future of giant debt.
Although the time has passed to get a “head start” on fiscal sanity in the federal government, like my mom says, better late than never.