Head Start not worth cost
Allyson Shelton, executive director of the Kentucky Head Start Association, penned an op-ed extolling the virtues of the program. She cited two studies to support her claims; neither examined Kentucky's programs.
The Department of Health and Human Services published the most comprehensive study of Head Start in January 2010 with data gathered from 2002 to 2008.
For brevity I will quote two sentences: "These impacts on children's experiences translated into favorable impacts at the end of one year in the domains of children's cognitive development and health, as well as in parenting practices. Yet, by the end of first grade, there were few significant differences between the Head Start group as a whole and the control group as a whole for either cohort."
By the end of third grade there was no favorable impact. Head Start has not improved the educational outcomes of children, despite costing billions of dollars since 1965.
It may have had a lasting positive impact on children with learning disabilities. If further research were to prove its worth for this small group, then continuing the program in an abbreviated form might be justified. Otherwise, 50 years is enough time to evaluate and determine that it has failed.
Ray Davis, Lexington
U.S. still secular nation
Contrary to James L. Hood's Sept. 14 op-ed, Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen didn't discredit someone's beliefs; his focus was their indefensible behavior. By any measure, religious freedom laws are fraught with problems, as anyone who is paying attention to world events can see every day.
To claim they are not a slippery slope is shortsighted at best, delusional at worse. Further, contrary to Hood's statement, the Obergefell decision in no way forces a belief on anyone, it enforces equality under law only. Hood, as a teacher and former government employee, should know better.
Hood attempts to equate using one's beliefs to deny equality to others with a noble traditional of "political action," as if denying equal rights to anyone is noble (traditional, yes). He furthers the myth that our government has acted without constitutional authority and our governor has broken laws by not allowing lawbreaking in Rowan County. Nonsense.
We don't live in a Christian nation founded on principles in the Bible. Ours is a secular nation founded on the Constitution that purposely divides church and state for the protection of everyone's religious freedom. Lawbreakers are not covered by this protection, even if they can sway gullible people with their lame excuses.
Arlin Marsh, Lexington