Moving Ahead from Head Start

Posted on

 Moving Ahead from Head Start

            Early childhood education refers to the teaching that goes on amongst children before they enter elementary school. The educational and social values that the students gain from this schooling are very beneficial as they enter elementary school. Early childhood education is not just based off of the curriculum and how the class is taught, it is also based off of the social structure of the classroom. Even the way that the furniture is aligned in the classroom has an impact on how successful the quality of the education is. Young children in these classes are not just there to be taught math, reading, writing, etc.; they are there to learn how to be social and creative — skills that they will use later in life. Head Start is a publicly funded early childhood education program that was started in the 1960s. The main purpose of the Head Start program was to encourage students that were living in poverty to become accustomed to life as a student at as young as an age as possible. Unfortunately, Head Start aimed almost only to students in poverty and excluded everyone else from the program. In the early 1990s, a new program was started called Universal Pre-K. This program has had more of a popularity streak because it aims at more people than just the lower class. Because of the vast amount of people that this program targets, there are now more students enrolled in Universal Pre-K than Head Start even though Head Start has been around for over thirty more years than UPK.

A main purpose to both of these programs is to narrow to achievement gap. There is a very close correlation between the opportunity gap and the achievement gap. Unfortunately, a child’s future is planned out when they enter this world because of the opportunities that are given to them by their parents. This claim is completely unfair because every child should be able to succeed just like the next one. The problem is, that most children are not given the chance. In order to close the achievement gap, we have to narrow the opportunity gap as well. Publicly funded early education is needed everywhere with quality teachers. Quality instructors are key to actually reforming the gaps. Ravitch believes that these gaps will be hard and costly to close but it will be worth it. She states, “Early intervention can make a lasting difference in children’s lives. It’s expensive to do it right. Its even more expensive to do half measures or not to do it at all (Ravitch, 233).” I completely agree with what she has to say here. The price is going to make a dent in the country, but will make an even bigger dent if we keep all of these kids that have potential hidden.  Heckman explained that, “Early intervention not only enhances the life prospects of children but also has a high benefit-cost ratio and rate of return for society’s investment (Ravitch, 231).” If students that would be set up to fail have the chance to succeed, what they give back to the country will be more beneficial and cost less than what the country puts into them to make them succeed. If students of low in come families are encouraged to start schooling at a younger age, the opportunity gap is immediately narrowed. A lot of children that come from poverty do not think about education until it is mandatory. Even when it is mandatory, it is dreaded and not cared about. Gaps are caused by so many reasons and these differences between students affect children’s readiness to learn. All children have the capability to be able to learn, but some have a head start because of the background that they come from. That is why the program Head Start came into play in the 1960s. Early childhood education cannot completely close the gap, but it has proven to shrink the gap. Head Start and Universal Pre-K both have the same goal when it comes to narrowing the achievement gap (Ravitch, 230-233). Closing the achievement gap was a goal that Head Start started with when the program began and still sticks with. This is the same for Universal Pre-K. Even though these two programs might compete because they are so similar, they both have very similar goals for what they want to happen with the young children. There have been projects done to prove that this gap can be narrowed with the right qualifications in early education.

Early education has been proven to work through many projects like the Nurse Family Partnership program, the Perry Preschool Project, and the Abecedarian Project. The Perry Preschool project enrolled fifty-eight poor African Americans children into a school starting at the age of three. These students would attend preschool for three hours a day for two years. This school was unlike other preschools; the curriculum was made so the children were encouraged to plan their own days. The teachers were very qualified and they were paid similar to public school teachers. They made weekly home visits to the students parents, teaching them how to turn every day activities into learning exercises. After the students had completed the two years of schooling, they were tracked until they were adults. These students were, “less likely than students in the control group to skip school, be assigned to a special education class or have to repeat a grade. By age 19, 66 percent of them had graduated from high school, as compared to 45 percent of those who hadn’t gone to Perry (Ravitch, 232).” This is solid evidence that early education is useful. It makes it hard for almost anyone to fight against it.

In 1964, the Federal Government created a panel of child development experts to design a program to help overcome barriers that children face when they are living in poverty. The program that was created was called Head Start. Head Start started as a summer program that was designed to break the cycle of poverty by providing early childhood education for low-income families. Educators, child development specialists, community leaders and parents positively looked at Head Start across the nation (History & Facts). The original goal of Head Start was to create a summer program that was funded by the government for young children in need of an early childhood education. Because the program was over the summer, it gave the children an opportunity to do something useful with their summers rather than just have three months to waste time. This program was obviously successful because within a year, the enrollment increased so much. President Lydon B. Johnson was in office at the time that the program was kicking off. Fortunately, Head Start had enough support that the new program was granted $96,400,000. With this money, 561,000 students were enrolled in just the first year. This turn out was unexpected, but pointed the program into a very upward turn. The next year, in 1966, Head Start became a 9-month, part day program for children of low in come families. The enrollment climbed its way up to 733,000 students in just one year. In 1969, Head Start moved from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the newly established Office of Child Development. President Nixon was now in office; the funding was still increasing, but the enrollment was starting to decrease. In 1972, Head Start started to serve children with disabilities, but unfortunately, the enrollment number was continually dropping. In 1978, President Carter was in office and the first actual expansion took place and the enrollment started to rise again. In 1986, the goals started to change and children were only accepted into the program for one year (Head Start History). The purpose of the program changed from development of social competence to the promotion of school readiness. The original goals of Head Start in the 1960s was the prepare children that were living in poverty for elementary school. Head Start has made their process somewhat difficult because the early education does not lead right into an elementary education. Universal Pre-K has learned from these goals because Head Start was not as successful.

Universal Pre-K varies from state to state. The main goal of Universal Pre-K is to ensure that all children, including children with disabilities, and English Language Learners have rich and varied learning experiences that prepare them for success in school and lay the foundation for college and career readiness (Engage NY). The South has taken the rein for implementing Universal Pre-K into their education. So far, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia, New York, Illinois, Iowa, and Massachusetts are the only starts that have started or finished the process of having UPK (Wong, 110). UPK goal is to provide a government funded highly qualified education to students in need. The reason why this differs from Head Start so much is because Head Start was only aiming towards children in poverty. There are five domains in which the UPK hopes to structure its program. The first is the approach to learning. The program hopes to set a standard for how children become involved in learning and acquiring knowledge. If this is done before they enter elementary school, they are already headed in the right track and can automatically start learning rather than have to be taught how to learn first. The next is physical development and health. UPK hopes that children learn the ability to engage in daily activities while being cautious of their health. The next goal is social and emotional development. In this domain, it is hoped that, children gain the emotional competence and ability to form positive relationships that give meaning to children’s experiences when they are at home, at school, or in a larger community. The fourth domain is communication, language and literacy. It is hoped that children can understand, create, and communicate meaning. The last domain is cognition and knowledge of the world. UPK hopes that what children need to know and understand about their world and how they apply what they know to the real world. These domains are very similar Head Start’s goals, but UPK is more structured and organized. Rather than just aiming for the poor, UPK makes an approach to have, “Preschool for all (Wong, 114).” UPK is also adjacent to preexisting schools, unlike Head Start. When being part of the UPK program, once Kindergarten rolls around, the student does not have to look for a new school, they are already enrolled.

Universal Pre-K has learned from Head Start’s mistakes. Head Start as a program had very good intentions in the 1960s that have lead on until today. The program just has some blimps in its structure that causes it to not be as successful as Universal Pre-K. Since the program is only aimed at the poor students in the country, they lose a lot of support that they could gain from the students in the middle class that aren’t necessarily poor, but still need schooling to be publicly funded. Universal Pre-K had the advantage of being able to see why Head Start was having difficulties and that is why they were able to make their program universally popular because it engages everyone that is in need of an education. Both of these programs had very similar educational goals. They both wanted to teach their students in an educational prospect as well as social. Universal Pre-K just had a better plan for aiming their program for everyone, rather than just the lower class. There is more public funding that goes towards UPK because there are more supporters.  The goals of early education have not changed much through time, but the people that are gaining a public early educational experience are increasing.


Works Cited

“History & Facts.” Head Start. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2014.

Haxton, B. “A Brief History of Changes in the Head Start Program.” Head Start History. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.

Ravitch, Diane. Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. New York: Knopf, 2013. Print.

“New York State Prekindergarten Foundation to the Common Core.” Engage NY. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.

Wong, Kenneth K., and Robert Rothman. “Learning from Head Start.” Clio at the Table: Using History to Inform and Improve Education Policy. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. 109-24. Print.


Posted on

For my research paper, I am going to identify the problems in the lottery process for charter schools. My question is going to be, what factors cause the lottery process to be inefficient? Which is based off of the historical causation. With my question, I am not trying to imply that the process does not work, but there are definitely factors that  cause the process from not being as fair and efficient as it could be.

The lottery process deserves to be researched because it can be such a positive aspect in someones life or can somewhat ruin their life. The lottery process determines children’s futures. There is so much emphasis on the way that children are educated so in cities like Harlem, being able to choose a different education is a way to redirect your life. Through research, I will be able to learn more and more about the complications that go into this process and what could be done to make the process fair for everyone. The process is supposed to be fair for everyone but there definitely are a couple hidden secrets that are part of the process which does not make it fair for everyone.

The movie, The Lottery, is a good source for me because that is what drew my attention to this process. The Lottery really showed how much people put their life into this process and many people get shut down time after time. I just get confused how people care so much about education that put their children through the lottery that why aren’t there better schools? Why are they still hiring unqualified teachers? It is so confusing and frustrating. In The Lottery, the process of finding out if you were accepted I thought was not the best way to inform the families. Obviously this process is not embarrassing, but not be accepted next to a family friend that is accepted is clearly a horrifying feeling. Watching these families get picked and dropped was devastating and heart warming, but when someone was picked all I could do was feel bad for the families that were not picked. Some charter schools inform their students by calling the home which I think is a much better idea.


Every state and city has different rules and a process of how the process happens. In order to make a process that was fair to everyone, all of the states should collaborate to make the process fair. Through more and more research I will be able to find more flaws. Since the charter schools are independently owned, it is hard to create a general process. Students with siblings all have preference. This makes it easier for their families to only be transporting children to one schools rather than various schools throughout the city. People complain that this rule is not always fair however.


Works Cited
“Enrollment FAQ.” New York City Charter School Center. N.p., 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
Lawler, James, and Madeleine Sackler. “The Lottery.” Documentary. Prod. Blake Ashman-Kipervaser. Manhattan, New York, 27 Mar. 2010. Television.
“Lottery Process.” Lottery Process. Schoolview, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
Medley, Joel E. “Public Schools of North Carolina.” N.p., 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

The Lottery Analysis

Posted on

The Lottery is a documentary directed by Madeleine Sackler. This film focuses on four different families throughout the New York City area that are involved in different urban schooling. These four families are currently enrolled in the charter school lottery to hopefully become a part of the Harlem Success Academy. The viewer has the opportunity to have an insight of the city’s schooling system through listening to the families, policy makers, administrators, and strong advocates speak their minds. The message that Sackler tries to communicate to the audience is that the local public schools are not giving most children the opportunities that would truly advance them. Together, as a country, we can help this problem by emphasizing the importance of education and providing equal opportunities through each school zone.

The theory of change throughout the film starts with the problem that there is not enough space for all of the students that deserve a spot, to receive a spot at Harlem Success Academy, or for that matter, any succeeding charter school. If the public school system was not failing in neighborhoods like Harlem, the charters schools would not be at such high demand. The public schools, in places like Harlem, are failing for many reasons. The emphasis gets put on the teachers, but it is also on the students. The teachers are not as qualified as other teachers throughout suburbia because of the conditions of the school, the staff, etc. With these poor conditions because of the income of the area, less qualified teachers are going to be attracted to these public schools. The students also play a factor because they are less interested in learning. The poor teachers add to this disinterest, but their home lives add to this as well. These students come mostly from poor families; there is a large chance that their families cannot even speak English or did not get diplomas from college or even high school. With unsupportive families at home and unqualified teachers, the educational success results are low. The policy chain is in affect, but has not yet worked itself out. Parts of the policy chain would be: the wait list and the attempt to gain more space for the school which would gain more students. The goals for HSA is that more students have the chance to get a better education to better educate the country, especially is higher poverty areas that are in need of this. This filmmakers did a great job in portraying these problems and goals. Documentaries can get repetitive because of too much narration on a single person.  The film jumps from narrator to narrator where the viewer can see who is speaking. Being able to see the average day of the students and families really made the documentary feel real. The viewer was able to be in the classroom, in the homes of the families, on the playground, and on the streets of Harlem. Seeing all of these places in the documentary lets the viewer feel a connection.

The film makers address the problem of public and charter schools by having people with all different views and backgrounds explain how they feel about their current situation on education. Sackler focuses mostly on people that are in favor of the charter schools. When the charter schools attempted to take over some space of a local public school, the strong advocates against charter schools spoke up. That was the only time that the viewers heard the critical side of charter schooling. The critics about the charter schools stand their ground because they believe the charter school system is unfair. They don’t believe that their ways of educating the students is poor and they don’t agree with the fact that not every student will get the chance to get this education. They are also part of a teacher union and they will not let this dissipate. Their future runs on their union, and the charter schools are run completely differently which could leave them unemployed. These public school teachers believe that the charter school system is bringing about too many problems. In the United States, there are 365,000 students that are currently on a wait list for a charter school. The problem with these protestors though against charter schools come off as too harsh. Both times that they were portrayed they came off as arrogant because of how harshly they criticized the charter schools with such distaste. These critics were arrogant because of the way that the presented their ideas and concerns. Obviously they have more of a reason to worry because their income is based off of the way that the public schools run; they are also being criticized. But, the way that they present it is very aggressive. During the scene where both sides come together in the gymnasium, the critics come off as angry and forceful towards the advocates while the advocates seem to just voice their opinions with reasonable evidence.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 3.44.33 PM

This image is some of the members of the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN). There are groups around the city like ACORN that are against charter schools or different types of school that take away from public schools. They hold protests hoping to inform more people about why they dislike the charter school systems. Again, this way of protest seems immature compared to the way that the advocates hold debates and lectures to inform rather than walk around with signs. They make claims like, “They only succeed because of their small class sizes,” or, “They do not educate the children with special needs (27:02).” Fortunately these claims are not true and are proven in one of Moskowitz’s conferences. She explains that the average Kindergarten class size at HSA is about 27 students, which is larger than the average public school class size. She also explains that the average amount of students with special needs is 18% which is larger than the average public school percentage (50:19).


Eva Moskowitz is the founder of the HSA and she claims that she has never heard of parents that do not care about education; she claims they just do not have the resources to help their children like the wealthier parents do (9:27). Different people throughout the film have different thoughts on why there is such a gap amongst the students and amongst the education. Gotbaum believes that poverty is the main cause of the educational problems (16:38) and that charter schools are not the answer. Gotlin believes differently and thinks that poverty is not the reason. She believes that there are many challenges, and the school has to take more of a stance and address the problems and figure out how to solve them rather than blame it on something like “poverty (17:10).”

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 3.22.19 PM This is an image of Moskowitz having a conference with fellow coworkers. Personally, I really liked this scene and thought that this was a great clip because of multiple components. First, all of the employees seemed very engaged in what Moskowitz was explain during her conference. Second, the amount of writing on the board shows that the teacher really cares because it seems so intricately laid out; taking the time to use different ways of posting, different colors, etc. Lastly, the YALE sign on the door has a lot of symbolism. It allows the viewer to see that the charter schools  are advocates for getting to the college level and actually into college. It is also presented that the teachers also have excellent educations, even from the best college in the country.

Jessica Reid explains that her only goal for her students is to educate them, but at public school she had little support from her coworkers and peers so it became increasingly difficult. At HSA, the support was more obvious and kept her morale boosted which resulted in her work paying off (23:21). She has meetings with coworkers that want to better their students, like Moskowitz is having above. When someone is able to speak from experience from both sides, like Reid, it adds a lot of evidence. Moskowitz states that the lottery proves that there are thousands and thousands of parents who are most likely in poverty, but are searching for a phenomenal education for their children (25:08). This proof supports Reid’s comment as well.

Louis writes an opinion piece on the Daily News about “The Lottery.” Her writing, in my opinion, was everything that I thought. SInce she is such a well educated woman and travels to see Moskowitz’s school and deeply agrees with her approach, it gives me all more of a reason to believe in Moskowitz’s methods. Louis also touches on Ravitch which I thought was interesting because we have been talking about her ideas on education. Louis explains that there are definitely hardships, she states, “That’s easier said than done. In Harlem and other communities, outstanding performance by charters has provoked envy, resentment and an organized backlash by teachers unions.” But these hardships are cancelled out by the opportunities and positivity that Moskowitz and her employees are providing for the students in Harlem.

The Lottery was a very touching film that explained, in depth, the problems behind public education in areas like Harlem. Harlem Success Academy provides opportunities for students in need, but unfortunately does not have the means to provide for enough students. In order to help fix this problem, we need to spread awareness in order for local public schools to have qualified teachers to educate the students. The more educated students we have in our country, the better the country will be.

Works Cited
The Lottery. Dir. Madeleine Sackler. Perf. Eva Moskowitz, The Goodwine Family, The Yoanson Family, The Horne Family, and the Roachford Family. 2010. DVD.
Louis. “‘The Lottery’ Documentary Shows Education Is a Sure Bet.” NY Daily News. Daily News, 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Posted on

Step 1: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by copying portions of it word-for-word.
He found that the average “margin of error” of a New York City teacher was plus or minus 28 points. So, a teacher who has ranked at the 43rd percentile compared to his or her peers might actually be anywhere between the 15th percentile and the 71st percentile.

Step 2: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, without copying it word-for-word.

A teacher who receives a specific ranking during one year of work is likely to get a different ranking during the next year. There will always be uncertainty in these rankings.

Step 3: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, with a citation the original source (using any academic citation style). Remember, even if you include a citation, paraphrasing too closely is still plagiarism.

But it is hard to trust any performance rating if the chances of receiving the same rating during the next year are no better than the flip of a coin (Ravitch, 270-271).

Step 4: Properly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, and include a citation to the original source.

The rankings of the teachers in New York City have a large margin of error. It has grown as large as 28 points. This margin of error also oscillates every year therefore it is very unpredictable (Ravitch, 270-271).

Step 5: Properly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, supplemented with a direct quotation of a key phrase, and include a citation to the original source.

The margin of error amongst the teachers in New York City is very large and unpredictable. Corcoran supports this claim with, “the average “margin of error” of a New York City teacher was plus or minus 28 points. So, a teacher who has ranked at the 43rd percentile compared to his or her peers might actually be anywhere between the 15th percentile and the 71st percentile. The value-added scores also fluctuate between years (Ravitch, 270-271).”

Original source: Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System(New York: Basic Books, 2011), pp. 270-71.