Thursday, June 20, 2024

Number of Hispanic Kindergartners Up From a Decade Ago

This year, Hispanic children make up a much larger percentage of Kindergartners than they did in 2000.

About a quarter of kindergarten age children are Hispanic according to an analysis of recent government surveys by USA Today.  That is a considerable 19% increase from ten years ago.

The high school graduation class of 2024 is also less white and less black.  The number of 5-year-old white children fell by 6% and the number of black children by 2% compared to a decade ago.

This profile of the approximately 4 million children who will begin kindergarten this year could be indicative of the future in the US and presents challenges for educators.

“That makes issues of language development and how to teach them even more important than 10 years ago,” W. Steven Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, said. “In some districts, 40% of their kids are Latino, and 4% of their teachers are. It’s a huge gap.”

The analysis also revealed that the share of 5-year-olds who speak English at home slipped from 81% in 2000 to about 78%. The share of Spanish speakers grew from 14% to 16%.

“We really have a long way to go before we understand what the best methods are,” Lisa Guernsey, director of the Early Education Initiative at the non-profit New America Foundation, said. “Today’s kindergartners are tomorrow’s high schoolers, and ‘we need to know what their needs are.’”

USA Today