Access to Preschool Narrows White/Latino Gap


A new study in a Princeton University publication found that giving equal access to center-based preschool to Latino kids could close the Hispanic-white school readiness gap by 26 percent.
The study’s authors say that the Latino-white achievement gap has narrowed in the last few decades. While Latino children with limited English and less access to preschool start out with a gap, the gaps narrow after a few years, according to a recent NBCLatino article. Reading scores are usually lower for Latinos of Mexican or Central American origin and for first- or second-generation immigrant students or those who speak Spanish at home than for Cuban or Puerto Rican children or those who speak English at home, the article states.
Researchers, however, are concerned about a widening socioeconomic literacy gap. Children from low-income families enter high school with average literacy skills five years behind those of high-income students.
A separate Brookings study found that if the “academic success rates of lower- and higher-income children were roughly equal at the end of elementary school, the lifetime incomes of children from lower-income families could grow about 8 percent, or roughly $83,000, over their careers.”
Researchers suggest that to correct the literacy disparity changes need to be made at the lower grade levels, regardless of socio-economic status. One way is to give children from non-English-speaking or low-income families access to good pre-schools that provide parental education, home-visiting services, and center-based education and care.
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