May 2019 – In mid-February, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act to subsidize early childhood education. Warren’s plan calls for all child care providers to receive federal monies (possibly funded through a tax on wealth) in order to meet mandated curriculum standards for early learning similar to those in current Head Start programs. This large-scale federal subsidy would cost billions without ensuring improved educational outcomes for participating children.
Taxpayers have spent nearly $200 billion on Head Start since 1965. Yet, a detailed study from the Department of Health and Human Services shows little or no positive impact on the study’s 5,000 participants, followed from pre-k through third grade. In fact, the Head Start Impact Study of 2012 even noted a few negative effects on learners. The Foundation for Economic Education examined similar studies citing negative effects of early childhood education, including ADHD research from Harvard Medical School. The Harvard research indicates that universally mandated and federally subsidized early childhood learning programs might be harmful to students.
heritage.org, 2/19/19; fee.org, 11/30/18