Does Head Start Still Work?

Education Week recently recognized the fiftieth anniversary of the Head Start Program.

When the nation’s first federally funded preschool program was begun, President Lyndon Johnson said “Five- and 6-year-old children are inheritors of poverty’s curse and not its creators.  Unless we act, these children will pass it on to the next generation, like a family birthmark.”

The question today is whether the program succeeds in giving poor children the boost they need to be successful in school and later in life. Congressionally mandated studies of Head Start children have found that by early elementary school, they are academically indistinguishable from their peers who did not attend the program—a reason to drastically revamp or even discontinue the program, experts say.

For more information, see Ed Week article here.

Does Head Start Still Work?

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Harvard Launches Fellowship Initiative to Prepare Seniors to Enter Teaching

By Stephen Sawchuk at Edweek

Harvard University plans to launch a fellowship program to prepare seniors at the esteemed college to become K-12 teachers, giving them more than a year of student-teaching, a lightened course load, and follow-up supports once they’ve started to lead their own classroom.

Plans for such a program have been in development for some time, but now it’s officially a go, thanks to a $10 million infusion of cash from two anonymous donors. (Harvard’s President, Drew Faust, and an additional donor also made key contributions.)

Harvard already has an undergraduate teacher-preparation program, but it’s quite small, enrolling on the order of 25 students of year. Most of the teachers the university prepares are graduate students. But in recent years, the college has seen an increased interest among undergraduates in pursuing a teaching career, said James Ryan, the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Groups Honing Real-Time Teacher-Performance Exam

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Prospective doctors take a licensing exam in which they diagnose the ailments of mock patients. Airline pilots dodge wind shear in flight simulators. Even 16-year-olds follow a driving examiner’s directions—turn right, parallel park—to earn their coveted driver’s licenses.

Should a similar licensing standard apply to prospective K-12 teachers?

That’s the thinking behind a new suite of assessments under development by TeachingWorks, a nonprofit launched by University of Michigan education faculty members, and the Educational Testing Service, the purveyor of the venerable Praxis suite of certification tests.

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Study: New York preschool push benefits wealthier families first

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to provide universal preschool to the city’s 4-year-olds has so far disproportionately benefited children from middle- and upper-income families, according to a report released Wednesday that the mayor’s office is disputing.

In the first year of expansion, the number of pre-kindergarten seats in the city’s public schools increased by 36 percent in Zip codes where families earn more than the city’s average income of $51,865, according to the analysis of city data by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. That was more than twice the rate of growth in the poorest quartile of city Zip codes, the report found.

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