Students Get No Boost from Head Start

Published March 1, 1999

Kindergarten students who did not participate in the federally funded Head Start programs in Louisiana performed no worse in school than students who did, according to an audit by the Legislative Auditor’s Office.

In three of four tests conducted by Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle, the Head Start students scored a point or two better than students who were on a waiting list for Head Start programs. The Head Start participants scored between 1 and 1.5 points less than other kindergarten students in general. The differences between Head Start students and others attending kindergarten aren’t statistically significant, said Kyle.

Earlier federal audits by the General Accounting Office found that the Head Start program seemed to help children in the first three grades but not thereafter. The Louisiana audit also revealed that the average cost per student of the Head Start program was $4,406 for eight of the nine programs included in the audit.