Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
February 6, 2013     Hays Free Press
PAGE 9     (9 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 9     (9 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
February 6, 2013

Newspaper Archive of Hays Free Press produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

NEVER THE SAME Loca! couple talks about coping with Alzheimer's. - Page 1C February 6, 2013 Page 3B BY KIM HILSENBECK ince 1965, American taxpayers have .'~spent more than $180 billion on : k..3~ead Start, a federally funded pre- "/ school program for low-income children. To give some perspective, the United States has spent more on Head Start than on the entire Apollo space program, which cost about $145 million. Head Start serves a million children each year nationally at a cost of about $7.2 billion, or a little more than $7,000 annually per child - roughly $600 a month. According to Suad Hooper, the Head Start program director for Community Action, Inc. of Central Texas (Com- munityAction), fewer than 600 of those million children are in Hays and Caldwell counties. That program opened its doors in 1965. In fact, Sargent Shriver, the driv- ing force behind the program in the Lyndon Johnson administration, vis- ited Kyle to initiate the program, which was one of the first in the nation. According to its annual report, Com- munityAction now operates 13 Head Start and Early Head Start centers in Hays and Caldwell counties. Services include center-based early childhood experiences; access to physical and den- tal exams; screening for vision, hearing, speech, developmental, and behavioral concerns; immunizations; medical follow-up; and parenting information. Introduced during President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" platform, Head Start aimed for school readiness for disadvantaged children. Over the last 48 years, critics of Head Start have ques- tioned the effectiveness of the program; they want to know if the cost to taxpay- ers is worth it. Hooper says absolutely. WHAT THE STUDY TRACKS In 2002, a congressionally-mandated evaluation of the effectiveness of Head Start began. The data collection ended in 2008. The study tracked three- and four-year-old children from Head Start through third grade. The final report, released Decem- ber 2012, indicates that while student performance during their time In Head Start was positively impacted, any gains were all but gone by third grade. The study authors wrote, '~dl we can say is after the initially realized cogni- tive benefits for the Head Start children, these gains were quickly made up by children in the non-Head Start group." The scientifically rigorous research, called The Head Start Impact Study, included about 5,000 children from 84 program grantees across the United States. The study was designed to assess whether beginning Head Start at age three was more beneficial than starting at age four. However, once the students entered elementary school, whether at a private or public institution, compar- isons were made among the research subjects as well as all students in the grade level at that facili~ One of the key findings of the study read, "Looking across the full study pe- riod, from the beginning of Head Start through 3rd grade, the evidence is clear that access to Head Start improved children's preschool outcomes across developmental domains, but had few impacts on children in kindergarten through 3rd grade." Based on the report methodology, the evaluation compared assessments of skills in language and literacy, pre- writing (during Head Start years) and math along with teacher reports of performance and parent reports of child literacy skills and grade promotion. The report authors continued, "There is clear evidence that Head Start had a statistically significant impact on children's language and literacy dev~lopmeut while children were in Head Start. These effects, albeit mod- est in magnitude, were found for both age cohorts during their first year of admission to the Head Start program. However, these early effects dissipated in elementary school." The report also concluded, "Impacts aside, these children remain disad- vantaged compared to their same-age peers; the scores of both the Head Start and the control group children remained lower than the norm for the population." In an article in Time magazine, author Joe Klein wrote, "These results Left to right, teacher Riso Millhollon, Ambassador Start location, one of the first in the nation. "War on Poverty" initiative. in this file photo from March 2012, then Aliyah Sandoval showcased the sensory progress of students. were so shocking that the U.S. Depart- ment of Health and Human Services (HHS) team sat on them for several years, according to Russ Whitehurst of the Brooklngs Institution, who said, 'I guess they were trying to rerun the data to see if they could come up with anything positive. They couldn't.'" Klein questioned why is Head Start is rtm by HHS and not the Department of Education. The answer, he said, is that programs like Head Start is typically run by community action programs. He wrote that a senior member of President Barack Obama's administra- tion admitted to him that Head Start is really a jobs program. In a recent article by former President GeorgeW. Bush aides in American Thinker, Charles N.W. Keckler and Ryan L. Cole agreed. "This is an often-unrecognized char- acteristic of many social programs," they wrote. "[These programs] provide work for teachers and caregivers and administrators in areas where employ- ment is often low, and, especially in the current economy, political leaders are reluctant to cut people loose." TAKING EXCEPTION TO THE FINDINGS But Hooper takes exception with the some of the report's findings. "The fact is Head Start does work for a vast majority of children," she wrote in an emall. "In my opinion the Study was yet another affirmation of the decades of rigorous peer-reviewed research showing that [it] works." Hooper said Head Start results in sig- nificant improvements in a wide variety of educational and life outcomes. "[These outcomes include] increased high school graduation rates; fewer Di HAYS FREE PRESS FILE PHOTOS Bill Crook and Sargent Shriver at Kyle Elementary in 1965 for the opening of a Head Shriver was instrumental in launching Head Start as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Head Start participants Marcus Lawrence and activities used to evaluate the developmental grade repetitions; fewer kids going into special education classes; higher vocab- ulary levels; better emotional develop- ment; reduced mortality rates of young kids; families moving out ofpoverty, and a significant impact on long-term out- comes of adults 19 years or older who attended Head Start," she said. Over the years since its inception, the HHS has made attempts, including several in the past few years, to deter- mine the efficacy of the program and justify its continued $7.2 billion a year dollar funding. In January 2011, the HHS released the Head Start Roadmap to Excellence. That initiative, according to Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Office of Head Start, was to raise the level of quality across all Head Start programs to ensure that children and families re- ceive the quality services they deserve. In 2010, the HHS proposed new reg- ulations that for the first time required lower performing Head Start programs to compete against other entities for continued funding. The agency also implemented training and assistance to help Head Start grantees meet the new standards. Prior to the Head Start Reauthoriza- tion Act of 2007, grantees continued to receive funding even when yearly evaluations showed poor performance. Fuentes said the new regulations list seven specific performance condi- tions that would automatically force a grantee Into recompetition. The conditions fall under the categories of quality, licensing and operation and fiscal and internal controls. Amanda Bryans, director of Edu- cation and Comprehensive Services in the Office of Head Start, in a 2012 conference call with Head Start grant- ees, told participants that a significant number of programs were really stmg- giing with the establishment of school readiness goals. Bryans went on to say that was a concern because, "by this point, we would really expect that all programs have well-articulated school readi- ness goals that reflect the five essential domains that are listed in the Child Development and Early Learning Framework." Yet what critics, and supporters, of Head Start often neglect to discuss is the critical role of families in the equation. 'A key factor in promoting positive outcomes for young children is the dynamic interaction between a child and a caring adult," according to a 2010 statement by the HHS. "In a Head Start program," the statement read, "this means that teachers provide age-appropriate, classroom activities that provide children with meaningful experiences focused on specific learning objec- tives. At home, it means that Head Start programs work in partnership with families to help them support and reinforce the learning that goes on during a typical Head Start day." The HHS proposed increasing the emphasis on family literacy because, according to the statement, "research shows that having literate parents that sing, read aloud, and tell and retell sto- ries to their children can have a large impact on the child's vocabulary and reading readiness." At the time of the 2010 regulations, the research tracking study had fin- ished data collection two year earlier but the release of the findings would take two more years. Bryans told Head Start grantees, "We see children in Head Start who typically come in with - you know, on average, they have, for example, smaller vo- cabularies than children who are from families with higher income. On the other hand, kids in Head Start tend to make a great deal of progress in a small amount of time even if they don't reach the national norm." Close to a third of Head Start staff are themselves former Head Start parents, according to Bryans. Hooper said she thinks the imple- mentation of Head Start can, and will, be improved, but the program needs help. "Head Start has a 45-year history of continuous improvement. But Head Start alone cannot do it! The communi- ties must come together and ensure that every child is given an opportunity regardless of the conditions they are born into," she said. SCHOOL BRIEFS STEM parent meeting Parents of students at Hays CISD third and fourth-grade students who are interested in learning more about the Venus 5 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program can attend an information meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Performing Arts Center. Students must take an assessment exam to determine inclusion in the program. For more information on testing dates and time, contact Weigh in on the new Hays CISD superintendent Hays CISD seeks parent, staff and community input in the search for a new district Superintendent. Part one of the search involves developing a profile outlining what parents, staff and the community desires in its next superintendent. There are several ways to get involved, IncludIng a stakeholder web survey and town hall-style meetings. Visit www.hayscisd. net/supersearchsurvey or supersearchsurveyspanish to take the online survey. The schedule for community input meetings is: 6:30-8 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Hays High School Cafeteria 6:30-8 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Lehman High School Cafeteria 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center Once this portion of the superintendent search concludes, which is scheduled for February 17th, the search firm will develop a profile of what the district is seeking in its next superintendent. The profile will accompany recruitment and marketing material that advertises the job opening, The Board hopes to name a lone finalist for superintendent position around May 1. Community orches'era open to Ila CJSD lamilm The Hays CISD Performing Arts Center recently announced the formation of a long-term agreement between Hays CISD and the Starlight Symphony Orchestra. 3his agreement, in part, provides Central Texas musicians of all ages - elementary and secondary students, university students, community musicians, and professional performers - rehearsal space and concert venues. The nonprofit orchestra is affiliated with the Whnbefley Players, but operates independently. It is a regional community orchestra for Kyle, Buda, Whnbefley, Driftwood, Dripping Springs, Lockhart, San Marcos and surrounding Central Texas communities. The Starlight Symphony Orchestra also serves to provide opportunities for Central Texas students to play with an orchestra, giving them the experience of working with a conductor, learning a part, playing with a full complement of instruments, understanding orchestral Literature, and performing for the community. Just as important in the age of dwindling budgets, the orchestra preserves the heritage of instrument music from historical literature to contemporary compositions. The orchestra conductor, Donald K. Miller, is a faculty member at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Contact Michelle Winn at (512) 658-9141 or to learn more. 122 Main Street Downtown Buda at the traffic light Open every day FARMERS' Debbie Thames Insurance Agency AUTO HOME LIFE BOAT HEALTH 251 N. FM 1626 #2C Buda, TX 78610 Office: (512) 312-1917 Fax: 312-0688 Email: dvthames @austin Monday-Friday, 9am-Spin Your Business & Referrals Are Appreciated ,:iii ....... ADWARE SPYWARE MALWARE VIRUSES On-Site Removal (requires broadband internet access) Norton Internet Security and Anti-Virus 2010 Mfr Rebates Available to Previous Owners To schedule an appointment, call 512-694-1746 468-4451 295-6008