Consider Head Start, the nation’s flagship pre-school federal program. Taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on this program since it began in 1965; it currently costs $8 billion a year. Yet a recent evaluation by the Department of Health and Human Services, which shows “little to no effect on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes” on the participating children -- suggests very little return on that investment. It’s also rife with fraud and abuse, with staff misreporting income to enroll more students.
There are plenty of duplicative or ineffective education programs that could be cut as well, such as:• Native Hawaiian Education Program ($34 million annually)
The list goes on and on. There are 150 federal education programs, in fact. And that’s on top of state and local spending, which comprises the bulk of all education funds.
The unfortunate thing is not that budget cuts are occurring. As the deficit continues to soar, it’s clear that they’re badly needed. No, the problem is that they’re not being targeted more effectively.
The nation’s teachers have proliferated a great deal over the last several decades. So have many programs that should have been expelled long ago.