WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 18, 2012 -
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
Head Start is one of the federal government’s largest initiatives to improve the lives of the estimated 900,000 children it serves, who are among the most at-risk in our society. Since taxpayers spend more than $14,000 for each child who is enrolled in the program for a full two years, totaling almost $8 billion in FY 2012, it is absolutely critical to ensure this investment is making a real difference in children’s lives—yielding lasting academic, social, and health benefits.
In 1998, Congress mandated the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conduct a national evaluation of Head Start. Earlier this year, several senators wrote to request the results of the Head Start “Third Grade Follow-Up Study,” which would be the most comprehensive study of the Head Start program’s long-term impact in history. Despite an initial due date of September 2011 and a revised date of September 2012, the study has yet to be released.
We understand data collection for the third grade evaluation was completed in the spring of 2008—more than four years ago. We also understand the analysis of that data was completed in 2010. Congress and the American people deserve to know a simple question: why has HHS been unable to produce a final report more than four years after data from the Third Grade Follow-Up Study was collected and two years after the data analysis was complete? We request you immediately release the latest version of the study, explain in detail why there has been a continued delay in issuing the final report, and provide us with a firm date on which the final report will be released to the public.
To read the full letter, click here.
# # #