The bad news: Latino children are not only less likely to be enrolled in preschool, they’re also less likely to be prepared for kindergarten.
The good news: New research conducted in Miami shows that early-childhood education can close that skills gap for low-income Latino students, both at the kindergarten level and through the end of third grade.
Nationally, Latino children represent a quarter of all kindergarteners, according to the Census Bureau. That ratio is only expected to grow in the coming years. Unless they arrive ready to learn, the potential skills gap could have far-reaching implications, the authors of a report from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families warn.
“Given these demographic trends, and what we know about their economic characteristics, how Hispanic children fare is going to have a lot to say about the future of our country," says Lina Guzman, who leads research for the center.
Using data from the Miami School Readiness Project, Guzman and her colleagues followed nearly 12,000 low-income Latino preschoolers who attended either a public pre-k or a subsidized center-based program, the two most popular preschool options among Latino families in Miami.