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The Hidden History of Head Start$
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Edward Zigler and Sally J. Styfco

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393767

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393767.001.0001

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Coaxing Science to the Rescue

Coaxing Science to the Rescue

(p.179) Chapter 7 Coaxing Science to the Rescue
The Hidden History of Head Start

Edward Zigler

Sally J. Styfco

Oxford University Press

In Washington, studies are contracted to research companies, many of which are quite professional and follow the procedures described above. The findings, however, are rarely peer-reviewed before they are submitted to the contracting agency. Once they are released, they are often treated as Truth by both policymakers and reporters, the majority of whom do not really understand the scientific method. After that, it is exceedingly difficult to correct mistakes in the research or conclusions, or to change public perceptions. This is exactly what happened with the findings of the Westinghouse study, which seemingly indicated that Head Start had no long-term effects. Although the many scholarly criticisms of the study and the author's relentless complaints about it to both the Nixon Administration and Congress eventually led to a decrease in the credence given to the findings, conventional thought had embraced the view that the benefits of Head Start soon fade away. This chapter describes efforts to defend against the damaging effects of the Westinghouse study.

Keywords:   poor children, pre-school children, intervention programs, education programs, Head Start, Westinghouse study, empirical research

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