“In a recent issue of Time, Joe Klein acknowledges the ignored reality that national-scale programs based on effective pilot programs frequently do not yield the same successful results. His case in point is Head Start—a “Great Society” pre-school program intended to provide a boost to disadvantaged children before they enter elementary school.
Head Start was based on a few pilot programs, such as the Perry Preschool program, that were believed to be effective. Advocates asserted that a national preschool program for disadvantaged children would yield the same positive results.
However, the 2010 Head Start Impact Study, a scientifically rigorous evaluation of multiple Head Start sites throughout the nation, found that the program is clearly ineffective. The program has had little to no positive effects for children granted access to Head Start.
Klein asks, “Why do so many [government programs] succeed as pilots and fail when taken to scale?” The answer to his question is two-fold.”
[READ “Why do national social programs frequently fail?” at Heritage.org]