In a new essay, Dr. Edward Ziegler, one of the founders of the Head Start program, argues for a rethinking of federal Title I policy. Ziegler believes we have a pressing need to redesign Title I based on scientific evidence that was not available when the program was created in 1965. Summarizing this literature, Ziegler argues that a key guide to effective programming is "the younger the better."
Key points drawn from the essay:
To its credit, Title I has never been tied to the "inoculation" model that pervaded the social sciences at the time it was launched. Everyone wanted to believe that one or two years of preschool could serve as an inoculation against all the ravages of poverty that a child may experience long before starting and long after leaving a preschool intervention ... We must move to a more realistic "developmental" model, in which the child is seen as moving from state to state in life, with each stage requiring appropriate environmental nutrients.