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Studies Gore a Sacred Cow

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Here is Head Start’s mission statement:

Head Start promotes school preparation by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services.

Head Start was launched in 1965, part of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “Great Society.” ( Did y’all catch that I used Johnson’s middle name?) It is presently part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It has become one of America’s longest running anti-poverty programs as it tries to meet its mission statement. This country has spent over $180 billion since its inception. The FY2013 (which started in October 2012) called for $8 billion to fund Head Start and Early Head Start. That funding level represents less than a ½ percent increase over the FY2012 budget. That sparse increase elicited this statement from Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association (NHSA):

“As many families continue to struggle with poverty, we are pleased that the President understands the critical importance of maintaining current services for our most at-risk children and families. However, we are disappointed that there is not more of an investment in the quality improvements for which funding is so desperately needed across all Head Start and Early Head Start programs, old and new.”

Vinci also said, “The funding level offers vulnerable, low-income preschoolers a window of opportunity to set a course for lifelong success. But she added that NHSA is ‘disappointed’ that there was not more of an investment, despite the sluggish economy.”

With that background, let’s examine what not one, but two, studies have shown: that Head Start is not achieving its mission. Two Congressionally mandated studies of Head Start have shown that it does not work. The two studies examined 5,000 children in 2010 (through the first grade) and 2012 (through the third grade). Both studies’ results are presented below:

  • For the 2010 study:
    • “Overall, Head Start had little to no positive effects for children who were granted access.”  
    • “For the four-year-old group, … access to the program failed to raise the cognitive abilities of participants on 41 measures. Specifically, the language skills, literacy, math skills, and school performance of the participating children failed to improve.”
    • “Access to Head Start for the three-year-old group actually had a harmful effect on the teacher-assessed math ability of these children once they entered kindergarten. Teachers reported that non-participating children were more prepared in math skills than those children who participated in Head Start.”  
    • “Head Start also had little to no effect on the other socio-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes of children participating in the program.”
    • “For the four-year-old group, access to Head Start failed to have an effect for 69 out of 71 socio-emotional, health, and parenting outcomes.”
  • For the 2012 study:
    • “Access to Head Start … had no statistically measurable effects on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability.”
    • “For measures of parent-reported social-emotional outcomes, access to Head Start for the three-year-old cohort failed to affect four of the five [Social-Emotional Development] measures.”  Personal comment: no emotional effect? Uh oh!
    • “Head Start failed to affect four measures of parental-reported problem behaviors.”
    • “Access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effect on the 10 teacher-reported measures of social-emotional development for the three-year-olds.”
    • “For the four-year-olds … Teachers reported ‘strong evidence of an unfavorable impact on the incidence of children’s emotional symptoms’.”

These were studies, not someone’s opinions. There were some positive results derived from participation in Head Start, such as “… a slight beneficial impact on children in the areas of social skills and positive approaches to learning.”  But even one instance of harm caused to children far outweighs any positive effects. After all, it’s for the children.

What is even more interesting is that the 2012 study has a publication date of October 2012, but it was not released until after the November 2012 election. Was that done so Democrats could accuse Republicans of not caring about children, when the opposite was actually true? Coincidence? Perhaps. Your call, but coincidences just seem to keep piling up. I would really like to know what Yasmina Vinci had to say about these two studies, or if she even bothered to read them.

And I really find the web page for the Skagit/Islands Head Start program to be quite humorous. It says, “Head Start is a free … program …[.] What I find humorous is that the program has the nerve to bill itself as “free.” Nothing is free. There is no free lunch! Whether through taxpayer dollars, or indoctrination, or both, payment will eventually come due.

So, poverty is still with us, and Head Start has been shown to be ineffective. If Dear Leader President Barack Hussein Obama is serious about reducing this country’s deficit (as he claims), then why not eliminate a program that two congressional studies have shown to be ineffective, to have no statistically significant effect, or that can actually be harmful? True, $8 billion isn’t much, but reducing the deficit must begin somewhere. Or is eliminating Head Start too much of a human service for participants? After all, Head Start participants are children. We do everything for the children. Relieving them of some of the deficit would certainly help them.

But that’s just my opinion.

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  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren! Oh…Warren! Wake up, it’s time to go to school!

    Welcome, Warren, to Reading Class. I see your report here on the benefits – or lack thereof – of Head Start. I see that you listed quite a few instances where Head Start provided no benefit to students, and even one or two negative effects, but you provided no examples of positive effects at all.

    You, young man, are GUILTY. You are guilty of failing to check the veracity of your sources. You saw what you wanted to see, what you assumed was true, but you did NOT check to see if they were telling you the whole story. I checked your reference on the results of the study, and it was a link to the right-wing website hotair.com. THEIR reference was a link to the Heritage Foundation. And what served as the Heritage Foundation’s references? NOTHING!!!! Go to the little tab at the bottom to ‘show references’, and you get NOTHING!

    So I used this little tool called ‘bing’ to look for those oh-so-damning studies, and what did I find? Oh, there were those quotes that you listed above, but there was much, much more, like:

    At the end of their Head Start year, there was strong evidence that the Head Start group demonstrated better skills on the following five child outcomes related to children’s language and literacy development: (1) PPVT (vocabulary), (2) WJ III Letter-Word, (3) Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (CTOPPP) Elision, (4) Letter Naming, and (5) WJ III Pre-Academic Skills. There was also a statistically significant impact on the measure of children’s pre-writing skills. Children in the Head Start group were found to have more advanced math skills than their counterparts at the end of the Head Start year on the WJ III test of Applied Problems.

    At the end of the Head Start year, children in the Head Start group showed strong evidence of less hyperactive behavior and fewer overall problem behaviors as reported by their parents.

    ? At the end of the age 4 year and the end of kindergarten, children in the Head Start group demonstrated suggestive evidence of better social skills and positive approaches to learning as reported by their parents. Further, children in the Head Start group also continued to show moderate evidence of less hyperactive behavior at the end of kindergarten.

    ? By the end of 1st grade, parents of Head Start group children reported moderate evidence of a closer relationship with their child than parents of control group children. At the same time, parents of Head Start group children reported (suggestive evidence) a more positive overall relationship with their child than parents of children in the control group.

    AND

    At the end of 3rd grade for the 3-year-old cohort, the most striking sustained subgroup findings were found in the cognitive domain for children from high risk households as well as for children of parents who reported no depressive symptoms. Among the 4-year-olds, sustained benefits were experienced by children of parents who reported mild depressive symptoms, severe depressive symptoms, and Black children.

    In other words, Warren, by not checking the veracity of your sources, you did not realize that your sources were CHERRY-PICKING. You should have remembered that when it comes to when it comes to the efforts of human beings (not including Jesus), there is no such thing as perfectly good or perfectly bad, and when you read those far-right echo-chamber reports that ONLY gave you the bad side, that in and of itself should have told you should bear in mind a Russian proverb popularized by Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify”. You trusted those sites, but you did not VERIFY, and your article suffered greatly as a result. I suggest you go rewrite it, and be a bit more diligent in your research.

  • troll

    Warren – you do realize how disappointing it is to find that your money line – ‘it’s for the kids’ – is lifted from Skip’s work over at GraniteGrok right?

  • clav

    (1) PPVT (vocabulary), (2) WJ III Letter-Word, (3) Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (CTOPPP) Elision, (4) Letter Naming, and (5) WJ III Pre-Academic Skills.

    My, what classic examples of government gobbledygook masquerading as education.

    Before you get all hot under the collar, Glenn, I’m referring only to those titles (and those acronyms! Oy!) and their so incredibly bad writing, NOT the reports themselves (which I haven’t read — the titles begged to be lampooned).

    All kidding aside, the existence of two congress-mandated studies that found Head Start to be deficient is cause for alarm. Instead of eagerly (and triumphantly) rushing to prove once again that the evil Warren is a hack, you might have cited this New York Times article, published in November of 2011, that notes that there are indeed, significant shortcomings in the program, and that Obama is increasing funding for the program to address these shortcomings.

    But, of course, that’s not nearly as much fun as Warren bashing; I understand that: government bashing, for me, is a most rewarding and delightful pastime.

    And, of course, the US government is such an easy target…

  • Baronius

    It disturbs me how funny I found that comment about Johnson’s middle name.

    I haven’t double-checked Warren’s or Glenn’s analysis, but historically, reviews of Head Start have been ambiguous. The response has typically been to throw money at it to make it better. Like so mamy things we talk about, the argument becomes more about protecting one’s side than fixing the original problem.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    historically, reviews of Head Start have been ambiguous. The response has typically been to throw money at it to make it better

    True enough – it has its good points and bad. But I’ve long felt that:

    (1) we’d have better teachers if we didn’t treat them like second-class citizens (41% of teachers in Texas have to moonlight in order to make ends meet, remember) – you get what you pay for, and if you refuse to pay good wages to teachers, then a lot of teachers aren’t going to be good. Middle-class pay for teachers is essential to having good teachers, and once we have a lot more good teachers than so-so teachers, then you’ll see improvements from Head Start through K-12.

    (2) That said, Head Start is also IMO a form of government-provided child care – something that is otherwise usually beyond the financial reach of single working moms or dads. Thus the quote I provided of its significant benefits to disadvantaged families.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Childishly starting your article with a smartass remark ie “( Did y’all catch that I used Johnson’s middle name?)” is hardly a way of garnering respect for anything that comes afterward.

    John F. Kennedy was known mostly by the public affectionately as JFK. This came about when Lyndon Baines Johnson began getting called London Johmson by mistake in the media very early in his career, so he began asking people to simply call him LBJ. When he married, his wife, Lady Bird took the same initials as her husband. This brought attention to their middle names.

    No one but you refers to our current president (not even Fox News) using Hussein.

    Get a life Warren

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    “You are guilty of failing to check the veracity of your sources. You saw what you wanted to see”

    Quoted for truth

  • troll

    I’m with Glenn – I’ve always thought of head start as a babysitting deal giving single dads a chance to go turn tricks down in the combat zone

  • clav

    I’ve always thought of head start as a babysitting deal giving single dads a chance to go turn tricks down in the combat zone

    On other words, a boondoggle, which is a synonym for a government endeavor.

  • clav

    IN other words…

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Warren uber-conservatve website Heritage Foundation published an almost identicle article to this one on January 10th-you should go after them since they copied your notes and published them 4 days before you could!

  • troll

    …re #8 – a veritable socialist redistribution of wealth and germs

  • Igor

    My wife says Head Start was really good for the kids she saw, and everything I’ve read said it generally was an advantage.

  • clav

    Nuthin’ like anecdotal evidence to incontrovertibly prove a point…

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 1, Glenn, I have to ask: Are you actively trying to provide comic relief? The report that you cite (that you found with Bing) was produced by (wait for it …) Health and Human Services, under which Head Start falls. And surprise, HHS found Head Start to be effective. Could HHS be trying to justify part of its existence? I think perhaps we can find the answer to that question by citing a passage from the very report you tout: “The Head Start Impact Study is a comprehensive, well-designed study of a large-scale early childhood program that has existed for more than 40 years” The emphasis is mine, but it pretty well captures the self-congratulatory nature of the entire report. And, “Providing access to Head Start has a positive impact on children’s preschool experiences.” Again, emphasis mine, but that statement does sound rather self-congratulatory. Kinda puts the validity of the entire report in doubt, doesn’t it?

    Besides, Glenn, did you even bother to read the ENTIRE report? Your comment cites some positive findings, but you somehow (on purpose?) omitted the following:
    “By the end of 1st grade, only a single cognitive impact was found for each cohort.” And that single cognitive impact was not named, nor was the number of cognitive impact factors given.
    “By the end of 1st grade, there was some evidence that the 3-year-old cohort had closer and more positive relationships with their parents.”
    “However, the advantages children gained during their Head Start and age 4 years yielded only a few statistically significant differences in outcomes at the end of 1st grade for the sample as a whole.” And guess what – the study highlighted only those findings.
    “By the end of 1st grade, there was some evidence that the 3-year-old cohort had closer and more positive relationships with their parents.”
    “For the 4-year-old cohort, there was an impact on child health insurance coverage at the end of kindergarten and 1st grade, and an impact on child health status in kindergarten. For the 3-year-olds, there was an impact on child health insurance coverage in kindergarten only.” What does the word “impact” mean here? We cannot assume it to have a positive connotation, since the phrase “positive favorable impacts” in the very next finding. The use of the the word “impact” is, at best, quibbling.
    “There were also a few subgroups of children that showed patterns of unfavorable impacts.” Here is that word “impact” again. Glenn, did you omit this finding on purpose?
    Your own comment furthers my analysis: “By the end of 1st grade, parents of Head Start group children reported moderate evidence of a closer relationship with their child than parents of control group children. At the same time, parents of Head Start group children reported (suggestive evidence) a more positive overall relationship with their child than parents of children in the control group.” Never had any statistics training, have you?

    So, in conclusion, I (as a statistician who has read many research studies) must conclude that HHS has done an excellent job of obfuscating by cherry picking only findings that support their case. And, the study you cite is the same 2010 report I cite. Reading the same report from two different perspectives can produce two different results. But my analysis, as I have tried to illustrate, examines methodology rather than content, something HHS failed to do. This conclusion is, of course, my personal opinion formed by education and experience.

    Now, Glenn, what about the 2012 report? Where is your refutation of it?

    Glenn, you say, “Warren, by not checking the veracity of your sources, you did not realize that your sources were CHERRY-PICKING.” You continue, “… but you did not VERIFY, and your article suffered greatly as a result.” I could say the same for your comment. This analysis is a way to identify where the deficit could be reduced. The overriding questions are, “Do we want to continue to spend $8 billion each year on “less than proven” results?b Is Obama serious about deficit reduction?” But, since conservatives are not in power, I do not expect Head Start to be curtailed.

    Re: comment # 7, troll, Huh?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren –

    I didn’t think you could possibly miss the point in my comment, but you managed to do so anyway! If you’ll READ my comment – and the reply that I made to Baronius, too – you’d see that my whole point was that there are TWO sides to the story, that while there are bad points, there are good points, too!

    Dude, you really need to get off the I-hate-everything-that’s-not-hardcore-conservative train, because it’s taking you somewhere you really don’t see coming.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    As predicted, “Not” has in the past-and will continue to respond here and in the future to reasonable people with…

    A. You missed my point-therefore you are wrong-because you don’t agree with me.

    B. You didn’t read-or you misread any or all of the article or you’d agree with me-despite my questionable research and twisting of facts to fit my agenda.

    C. That comment has nothing to do with my article (even if it does)

    See link in comment 10-it should look familiar despite the rewording…

  • Dr Dreadful

    This is priceless…

    Warren’s rebuttal of Glenn:

    The report that you cite (that you found with Bing) was produced by (wait for it …) Health and Human Services, under which Head Start falls. And surprise, HHS found Head Start to be effective. Could HHS be trying to justify part of its existence?

    And the headline of Warren’s primary source, an article on HotAir.com:

    “HHS Study: Yep, Head Start doesn’t work”

    Warren, only you could poison the well while drawing from the very same well…

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 15, Glenn, is that the best response you can offer? Certainly, there are two sides to every situation/study/event. My # 14 response showed how tenuious, how silly your side appears once someone with training examines the article YOU offered. Yes, I completely understood your comment. It just couldn’t withstand objective scrutiny. As Col. Nathan R. Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson) said in A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth.”

    Re: comment # 16, Jet, are we beginning to see a stock response from you each time someone disagrees with your opinion? I notice that you never discuss article issues, except only in terms that YOU frame.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren –

    My # 14 response showed how tenuious, how silly your side appears once someone with training examines the article YOU offered.

    Oh. You mean the article I offered as a reference wasn’t something that should be used as a reference? Even when it was the SAME reference that the hotair.com and Heritage Foundation quoted?

    Ah, I see – it’s okay to take as gospel the NEGATIVE findings in the report by HHS, but it’s NOT okay to give any credence whatsoever to the POSITIVE findings in that VERY SAME report!!!

    And to top it all off, you really, truly do not comprehend the hypocrisy of eagerly accepting the negative findings while flatly ignoring the positive findings of the same report!

    BTW – your reference to Col. Jessep is more appropriate than you thought, because it was his willful ignorance and overweening pride, his assumption that bureaucrats (like lawyers) simply could neither understand nor be trusted, that led to the kind of command climate that resulted in the victim’s wrongful death.

    The irony…it burns!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I find it interesting that two of the most over-used quotes in today’s vernacular are (1) “You can’t handle the truth!” and (2) “Hello? McFly?”

    And that those who use them, and think they’re being smart and clever, forget that they were uttered by two of the most memorably unsympathetic characters in recent Hollywood history – and showing them at their worst, to boot.

  • John Lake

    #11
    I went ahead and compared the two, and found no similarity. Just for the record.

  • clav

    As the editor of this article, I ran it through two plagiarism detectors (as I do with all articles I edit) before publishing.

    There is no plagiarism.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Check again Clavos…
    It’s a simple matter of looking for words that “not” normally doesn’t use, then subtract his added hatred for “Hussein”.

    “Not” says: This country has spent over $180 billion since its inception

    Heritage foundation: Taxpayers have spent nearly $180 billion on Head Start since its inception in 1965 with nothing to show for it.

    “Not” says: What is even more interesting is that the 2012 study has a publication date of October 2012, but it was not released until after the November 2012 election. Was that done so Democrats could accuse Republicans of not caring about children, when the opposite was actually true?

    Hot air says: Its published date is October 2012, but it wasn’t released until after Obama’s election, presumably so Democratic campaigns could safely accuse Republicans of not caring about children and ignore the actual results of the programs they favor.

    There’s more, but why bother?

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    From Fault lines…
    It’s Time to Gore the Sacred Cow of “Education” . . .
    Headlining the Local Section of Yesterday’s Observer-Dispatch was this AP story: “N. Y. Senate coalition vows to reject school aid cuts.” A “new coalition” of…

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Sorry “not” I read your article but missed the point.

  • Igor

    Anecdotal evidence is powerful when it refutes a universal.

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    Re: comments # 24 & # 25, Jet, I also used the word “the” in my article. Does that constitute plagiarism as well? After all, “the” has been used by others before me.

    Re: comments # 22 & # 23, John and clav, thank you.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    The tragic thing is he’s serious

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Hmmmmm…

    …the 2012 study has a publication date of October 2012, but it was not released until after the November 2012 election. Was that done so Democrats could accuse Republicans of not caring about children, when the opposite was actually true?

    vs

    Its published date is October 2012, but it wasn’t released until after Obama’s election, presumably so Democratic campaigns could safely accuse Republicans of not caring about children and ignore the actual results of the programs they favor.

    By god you DID copy the word “the”…

    Comment 24 didn’t reflect that… my mistake.

  • clav

    Anecdotal evidence is powerful when it refutes a universal.

    Anecdotal “evidence” isn’t evidence at all; it’s someone’s (in this case, yours) story about something, and is unverifiable, so it refutes (or proves) nothing.

  • Igor

    One can quibble the veracity of an anecdote, but it remains true that a negative instantiation refutes a generalization.

    I have no way to prove the veracity of my anecdote, and it really doesn’t matter since anyone can imagine that someone somewhere could advance such an anecdote.

  • Igor

    (part 2 to circumvent the censor)

    Such is the burden of advancing a generalization: it must withstand all instances.

    Anyway, from my experience headstart has worked well. I’ve seen kids, especially disadvantaged kids, who benefited greatly from headstart.

    There is a lust for knowledge in kids. They are, as one author said “The Scientist In The Cradle”. The sooner that lust is satisfied, the greater the enthusiasm for learning, and the greater the advancement and achievement.

    Also, psychometric tests show that children are VERY powerfully influenced in the first 3 to 6 years. So, it seems to me, that a good Headstart program will improve their lives and improve our society.

    It’s a mistake to make a political football out of something so important.

  • Igor

    Hey, it worked! I just split the offending comment!

  • Baronius

    Igor – It’s been a while since I got blocked, but that trick has worked for me too.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    So Clavos, you’re still saying the key sentence/point warren employed to sum up his article, shown in #30, does NOT prove a blatant similarity and wasn’t “reused?”

    Perhaps you’d like to borrow a pair of reading glasses?

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    Re: comments # 15, allow me to be VERY specific regarding the article Glenn cited in comment # 1: terms such as “some evidence,” “only a few statistically significant differences,” “impact” (with no definition), “moderate evidence,” and “suggestive evidence” are (at best) weazel words that cast doubt upon the validity (notice that I did not say “veracity”) of the ENTIRE study, and makes a reader ask two questions. WHY were weazel words used, other than for obfuscation? WHO conducted the study?

    Re: comments # 24 and # 25 (and others), Jet, try as you may, you cannot change the subject of this thread. Did you somehow miss comments # 22 and # 23? All you are doing is making yourself look foolish. Did you go to the “James Carvill” school of commentary formulation? BC readers can clearly see what you are trying to do. I think you reached the pinnacle of absurdity when you said, “By god you DID copy the word “the”…”

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Warren I refer you back to #17 in you ridiculous denial and subterfuge

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    And let’s not forget this little gem that “Dear Leader” said during the third presidential debate in 2008: “… we spend $15 billion a year on subsidies to insurance companies. It doesn’t help seniors get better. It’s a giveaway. I want to go through the federal budget line by line, programs that don’t work.” Well, TWO studies by HHS have confirmed that Head Start doesn’t work, yet it continues to receive taxpayer dollars. This is another example of “say anything to get elected’ Obama lying.

    Jet, I hate to disappoint you, but Obama actually said that. Notice also that Obama used the word “the.” Is he guilty of plagiarism as well?

  • Dr Dreadful

    This gets more ridiculous by the moment.

    terms such as “some evidence,” “only a few statistically significant differences,” “impact” (with no definition), “moderate evidence,” and “suggestive evidence” are (at best) weazel words that cast doubt upon the validity (notice that I did not say “veracity”) of the ENTIRE study

    Again, Warren, this is the very same study you cited in your article. Therefore, if the validity of the ENTIRE study [your emphasis] is in question, so is your own argument.

    and makes a reader ask two questions. WHY were weazel words used, other than for obfuscation? WHO conducted the study?

    Coming from someone who claims to have a PhD in statistics, your perplexity regarding these questions is remarkable.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    and telling

  • Cindy

    These were studies, not someone’s opinions.

    Indeed, they are studies where someone’s opinion determines what counts as development for children.

    You can have your culture and eat it too, imo. :-)

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    It’s a toss up as to which is the more depressing, the pathetic state of contemporary US political dialogue or the equally parlous state of the discussion of and commentary on US politics.

    This article seems to shed interesting and informative light on both processes…

  • Doug Hunter

    Interesting results. I’d be shocked if taking kids away from ignorant, poor people and sticking them under the influence of a college educated individual didn’t have some positive benefits as far as preparing to live in a world created by college educated individuals goes. As troll pointed out, it’s also good babysitting.

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 40, Doc, I know your attention span is rather short, so try to focus on this comment. You say, “Again, Warren, this is the very same study you cited in your article. Therefore, if the validity of the ENTIRE study [your emphasis] is in question, so is your own argument.” Yes, Doc, you are correct; I did cite the HHS study. But (and here is where it will get tricky for you) I also showed how the report was full of weazel words and questioned its validity. So now you will, without using tortured logic, explain how my conclusion is invalid – if you can.

    I say, “… and makes a reader ask two questions. WHY were weazel words used, other than for obfuscation? WHO conducted the study?”
    You retort: “Coming from someone who claims to have a PhD in statistics, your perplexity regarding these questions is remarkable.” Come on, Doc. Is that the best you can do? No analysis of the questions I posed? I said that the “study” reader, when seeing the weazel words, will, if he/she has an ounce of objectivity, ask those two questions. And in what subject is your PhD? .

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    aaaaannnnnnd we/re back to #17

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Yes, Doc, you are correct; I did cite the HHS study. But (and here is where it will get tricky for you) I also showed how the report was full of weazel words and questioned its validity. So now you will, without using tortured logic, explain how my conclusion is invalid – if you can.

    This surreal line of “argument” is rather like the following hypothetical exchange:

    Warren: So you claim you have a cat. I see no cat. Prove to me that you have a cat.
    Doc [picking up cat]: Here. Here’s my cat.
    Warren: I see no cat. Prove to me that you have a cat.

    In other words, Warren, to borrow a favourite “debate tactic” of yours, if you don’t want to see where your logic is defective, then nothing I can say is going to persuade you…

    You retort: “Coming from someone who claims to have a PhD in statistics, your perplexity regarding these questions is remarkable.” Come on, Doc. Is that the best you can do? No analysis of the questions I posed?

    I felt it was remarkable because you claim to be a statistician by training and many of what you call “weasel words” are in fact statistical terms. For instance, a statistician, summarizing his findings for a non-stats geek audience, is going to be very careful about the words he uses. If evidence is correlative but not strong or not complete, then he might say that there is “some evidence” or “suggestive evidence” for a certain proposition. And again, I’m sure you know what statistical significance is, so I won’t bother explaining to you why the report’s authors might talk about “only a few statistically significant differences”.

    In short, a report that acknowledges its own weak points possesses integrity rather than, as you affirm, the contrary. It’s certainly no reason to dismiss the whole thing (especially while trying to have it both ways by using the very report you have just dismissed to support your own argument).

    I said that the “study” reader, when seeing the weazel words, will, if he/she has an ounce of objectivity, ask those two questions.

    Warren, you’ve yet to demonstrate that you possess even a smidgen of objectivity, so you’ll forgive me if I fail to take that statement seriously.

    And in what subject is your PhD?

    Why do I have to have a PhD?

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Warren-you still haven’t answered.

    Warren’s Summation paragraph:
    “…the 2012 study has a publication date of October 2012, but it was not released until after the November 2012 election. Was that done so Democrats could accuse Republicans of not caring about children, when the opposite was actually true?”

    HotAir’s paragraph:
    Its published date is October 2012, but it wasn’t released until after Obama’s election, presumably so Democratic campaigns could safely accuse Republicans of not caring about children and ignore the actual results of the programs they favor.

    How can you tell if Warren’s been at his computer?
    There’s White-out formula all over the screen

  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    What’s wrong with paying out the money to the school systems for pre-kindergarten
    programs throughout this country. Just put the money directly into the classroom.

    My experience in teaching has shown that children need to set boundaries from an
    early age so that they can do things like assigned homework and concentrated study.
    The pre-kindergarten programs should emphasize the role of the student, as well as
    the duties and responsibilities in order to succeed later on in school. Children
    should be introduced to libraries where they can have guided reading sessions and
    learn how to use the catalog systems. A good number of students simply do not read
    books at all and this is the reason for problems throughout their academic career.

    We should be putting money and resources in methodologies for reading, as well
    as comprehension and critical thinking skills. In addition, students who come to
    the system as “English as a Second Language” should have more immersion in
    English so that they do not fall behind later on in the standardized testing
    throughout the system. If necessary, children should have considerable instruction
    in at least two languages. Later on, they can get credit for a second language in
    their high school studies. This way- no time or effort would be lost. It’s important
    to correct the situation whereby children are not fluent in any language.

  • Baronius

    Actually, Warren, Dread makes a great point. If a statistician is faulting a report for failing to use statistics, or for misrepresenting them, that’s understandable. But you seem to be complaining about the words in the report. That’s weird. I have to ask, did you read the report, or was this article based on coverage of the report? If the latter, don’t you consider it an obligation to review the report yourself, particularly with regard to the statistics? I would feel that obligation before complaining about a report’s weaseliness, and I’m not a statistician.

  • Baronius

    As I was saying 22 hours ago, Warren, Dread makes a good point. I have to wonder if your article reflects the thinking of a statistician – and if not, whether that means you relied too much on secondary sources or your writer’s bio is false. This would be a really good time for you to explain yourself and improve your credibility. If I’m looking at this thread in another 22 hours and you haven’t responded, what am I supposed to make of that, except that the accusations that have been made against you are justified?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Jet’s comparison with Warren’s work and HotAir already make clear what you should make of it. He tries to “weazel” out of it, but those lines are too similar to be coincidence, especially with someone of his track record

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 47, Doc, and comments # 50 and # 51, Baronius, I NEVER said the HHS report cited by Glenn was incorrect. I just pointed out that it was full of weazel words. If the HHS study findings were so supportive of the effectiveness of Head Start, then WHY did HHS include them? Weazel words make readers suspect that the entire study is rather self-serving, and must be read with a jaundiced eye. Otherwise, why were they included? Bottom line: would YOU place an $8 billion bet on a horse if I told you that there was “some evidence” or “suggestive evidence” that it would win the next race? That’s what this country has done since 1965. And, that’s what Obama, despite his deficit cutting rhetoric, continues to do.

    Nothing is ever “proven” with statistics, or even a study. The results are only “suggestions” or “indications” as to what is really happening. The “proof” is simply an interpretation of the results. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending upon your perspective, HHS interprets its (self-serving?) study as “Head Start is effective.” And, hence, wants to have its funding continued. Is Head Start effective? We’ll never know for certain. But, I must ask, “If the HHS study findings were so supportive, then WHY did HHS include weazel words?”

  • Dr Dreadful

    I NEVER said the HHS report cited by Glenn was incorrect.

    Warren: YOU cited the report before Glenn did. It amazes me that you still don’t seem to have realized this yet despite I and other commenters having pointed it out at least five or six times.

    For your sake it’s better that you don’t think the report is incorrect, since half of your split personality seems to be relying heavily on it not being incorrect in order that it should support your argument that Head Start doesn’t work.

    I just pointed out that it was full of weazel words.

    As I already pointed out to you, they are not weasel words but descriptors of the relative strength of the study’s findings. They’re no different to the terminology used in any other statistical report I’ve read.

    They would be weasel words if they existed in isolation, with nothing to support them. In that case there would be something to your contention that there is an intent to mislead. In reality, however, the phrases refer to the actual statistical findings in the actual report, which are accessible to everybody and which you are more than welcome to read for yourself. Here it is.

    If you are a statistician of course you know this perfectly well. I was tempted to wonder what idiot gave you a PhD, but actually I don’t doubt that you have one. Rather, in your case Political Hack Warren invariably overrides Objective Academic Warren.

    Bottom line: would YOU place an $8 billion bet on a horse if I told you that there was “some evidence” or “suggestive evidence” that it would win the next race?

    That may be the worst analogy I’ve ever seen. Head Start isn’t a one-off bet, it’s an investment. Now, if you had an (unusually long-lived and virile!) horse and told me there was suggestive evidence that it was going to win the majority of its races over the course of a 47-year career, then yes, I might well be persuaded to place an $8bn accumulator bet.

    HHS interprets its (self-serving?) study as “Head Start is effective.” And, hence, wants to have its funding continued.

    Perhaps you’d care to point me to the page in the report on which the authors link the results of the study with a request for a continuation of funding.

  • Baronius

    Dread, I’m so bored with this that I’m not even bothering to look up-thread to make sure of it, but I think Warren cited two different reports – maybe Congressional – rather than the HHS reports.

  • http://rwno.batcave.net Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 54, Doc, LMAO! I ask again, “In what subject is your PhD?” What gives you credibility to assess whether weazel words have meaning or not, or even what they mean? And, now you will provide a list of scholarly journals (or colleagues) for which you have read studies. You say, “That may be the worst analogy I’ve ever seen. Head Start isn’t a one-off bet, it’s an investment.” So, your interpretation of the HHS study is that Head Start is an investment. Upon what, other than your opinion, is your interpretation based? Is it the “some evidence” or “suggestive evidence” offered in the HHS report that supports your “investment” statement?

    “There is none so blind as he who will not see.”

    And, did you somehow miss Glenn’s comment #1?

    I’m getting like Baronius – this is getting quite tiresome.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Forgive me Winston…

    Warren stumbled over the truth once…

    …fortunately he was able to get up, dust himself off, and scurry away before anyone noticed.

    WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE ARGUING WITH SOMEONE WHO REFUSES TO LISTEN TO ANYONE BUT HIMSELF???

    You have no hope of changing his mind (what there is of it) so why are you bothering????

  • http://cinemasentries El Bicho

    does HeadStart to teach kids how to spell “weasel” properly?

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    He probably saw it spelled that way in another article and copied it.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Failing to acknowledge that you haven’t got a leg to stand on, Warren, you resort to ad hominem. Sad but predictable.

    What gives you credibility to assess whether weazel words have meaning or not, or even what they mean?

    Reading them.

    And, now you will provide a list of scholarly journals (or colleagues) for which you have read studies.

    I read statistical reports related to the housing industry and homelessness quite frequently for business, and reports about climatology and other sciences occasionally for what for want of a better word we shall call pleasure. I can give you citations when I have time, whereupon you may notice a striking similarity in some of the language, though I doubt there’s much point.

    So, your interpretation of the HHS study is that Head Start is an investment. Upon what, other than your opinion, is your interpretation based?

    The fact that it’s been running for 47 years whereas a horse race lasts for about 47 seconds.

    “There is none so blind as he who will not see.”

    Oh, the irony.

    And, did you somehow miss Glenn’s comment #1?

    No.

    And Baronius, Warren cited the preliminary and final HHS reports – or rather he cited HotAir’s citation of the Heritage Foundation’s citation of them. He apparently still fails to realise that the report Glenn is talking about in comment 1 is that very same report.

    Agreed, this is getting very tiresome.

  • troll

    (Dreadful – I’d given up on this thread days ago – not enough paranoid content (or so I thought) – and only just saw that you commented on the ‘biased statistician’ problem hours before I did over on W’s tax thread…kudos and I owe you a cookie)

  • troll

    Chris – #43 interesting link…my take on game theoretic explanations so far:

    gt = ‘an eye for an eye’ meets the golden rule

    tit-for-tat emerges as a basis for cooperation – but along with a significant failure rate…which back in the mundane world can prove problematic (witness wars man-made starvation AGW congressional deadlock etc)

    …still working on it obviously – hopefully we’ll figure it out before in fact ‘the whole world is made blind’

  • Baronius

    I stand corrected, Dread.

    I’ve just looked over the actual December 2012 report. It’s filled with hard statistics: for example, it takes about ten pages describing how they developed a randomized, representative sample. The last third of the report is statistical tables.

    I am the closest thing Warren’s going to get around here to a neutral judge. It’s my finding that this article wasn’t written by a statistician who reviewed the report. Either Warren isn’t a statistician or he did compile this article from weak secondary sources and didn’t bother to confirm their spin on the report. Either way Warren’s credibility with me is zero. If I continue to read his articles, it’ll only be for the threads that follow.

  • Dr Dreadful

    tit-for-tat emerges as a basis for cooperation

    Well, yes, if everybody’s on the same page. Oddly, though, people seem less keen on applying the eye-for-an-eye principle when it’s they who have done the tatting.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Thanks, Baronius – you’re a gent. You and I seldom agree about much, but I hope all of us BC regulars appreciate your integrity as much as I do.

  • Baronius

    As Moe says, get the other guy to trust you, then jam a fork into his eye. No, I mean, um, thank you, I really do have integrity.

  • Dr Dreadful

    :-)

  • Baronius

    Leaving the statistics aside for a moment, this article alleges that the HHS report was delayed until after the election. That doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Let’s say it came out in October. It shows weak benefits from a social program. What was supposed to happen? Would the press have read it? and then asked really hard questions of the President? Would Romney have called for money to be taken away from poor children? If he had, would that have won over the hearts of the Democratic faithful? Would Todd Akin have been forgiven, and Elizabeth Warren admitted falsifying her resume?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius and Dread –

    Most of us on here do have integrity – some more than others. As I’ve pointed out too many times, my personal yardstick for measuring one’s integrity is how often one is prone to admit error without taking offense, and Baronius is certainly well over on the plus side.

    Now, if I could only get a certain someone in my life (not my wife, thank God!) to understand that, but those with an honest-to-goodness A-type personality are simply unable to see the point, I guess.