Theory of Strain Essay Sample

  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 715
  • Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
  • Category: poverty

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Introduction of TOPIC

It is sometimes said that it is not how you play the game, but whether you win or lose. In considering the theory of strain, what social programs have been developed to address the strain theory and discuss how effective you feel they are? The Strain Theory attempts to explain how factors such as poverty, homelessness, lack of parenting and lack of opportunity are a major contributor to crime and the forming of delinquent subcultures. In order to circumvent these factors programs and resources were designed to foster stable family relationships, enhance children’s physical and emotional well-being, and establish an environment to develop strong cognitive skills.The first and foremost of these programs would be Head Start, Launched in 1965 by its creator and first director Jules Sugarman (Administration for Children and Family’s, 2013), Head Start was originally conceived as a catch-up summer school program that would teach low-income children in a few weeks what they needed to know to start kindergarten. Head Start helps to create healthy development in low-income children age’s three to five.

It also offers services that depend on each child and family’s culture and experience, to influence all aspects of a child’s development and learning. Everyone in American society which includes the poorest of the poor are socialized to aspire toward high achievement and success. Competition and success rank amongst the highest values in American society, they are taught in school, glorified by public authorities, and glamorized by the media. In America ones worth is measured by material possessions and monetary success. This success however, is e

xpected to be achieved through honest and conventional means. These conventional means are regulated

by societal norms. The limitation to the strain theory is that it focuses very intensely on the opportunities given or lack thereof. It takes little into account in regards to other outside influences that may steer ones direction toward delinquency and deviant behavior. The Head Start program tries to give those of lesser means a chance of school preparation by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services.

Head Start began as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society campaign in 1965 and evolved into comprehensive child development program to help communities meet the needs of disadvantaged preschool children. The following year it was authorized by Congress as a year–round program and in 1981 Congress enacted the Head Start Act. Unfortunately over the years the analysis of the Head Start program has been mixed.According to Lois-ellin Datta, who summarized 31 studies, the program showed immediate improvement in the IQ scores of participating children, though nonparticipants narrowed the difference over time (Datta, 1976). Head Start’s significant initial impacts quickly fade.

This phenomenon, known as “Head Start Fade”, is evident as early as second and third grade (Lee & Loeb, 1995). One reason for this effect is the fact that Head Start participants are significantly more likely than other children to attend lower-quality public schools, which can structurally undermine any advantage that Head Start would initially provide.You take the million or so poorest 3- and 4-year-old children and give them a leg up on socialization and education by providing preschool for them; if it works, it saves money in the long run by producing fewer criminals and welfare recipients. But the fact is it hasn’t worked for quite a while. We spend more than $7 billion providing Head Start to nearly 1 million children each year and there is indisputable evidence about the program’s effectiveness, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services: Head Start simply does not work (Services, 2010).


Administration for Children and Family’s. (2013). History of Head Start. Retrieved from US Department of Health and Human Services: Datta, L.-e. (1976). The Westinghouse-Ohio Evaluation of Project Head Start. Studies in Educational Evaluation, v8 n3, 129-181. Lee, V. E., & Loeb, S. (1995). Where Do Head Start Attendees End up? One Reason Why Preschool Effects Fade out. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 17, 62-82. Services, U. D. (2010). Head Start Impact Study: Executive Summary. Rockville, MD: Westat.

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