Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Preschool Enrollment Can Minimize Latino-White Achievement Gap





In an address to reporters, Education Secretary Arne Duncan concluded that the formula to closing the achievement gap between Latino and white students could be enrolling children in preschool.

“Less than half of Hispanic children attend any kind of preschool – that’s kind of staggering,” said Duncan. “This is the fastest-growing population and a lower-than-average participation rate … You’re 5 years old and you’re entering school 1 to 2 years behind and you wonder why we have an achievement gap.”

Recognizing that financial obstacles pose one of the largest threats to Latino preschool enrollment, President Obama’s proposal for a Zero to Five Plan would help alleviate that by offering voluntary, universal preschool for 4-year-olds.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House: “The President is proposing to work with Congress to provide all low-and moderate-income 4-year-old children with high-quality preschool, while also expanding these programs to reach hundreds of thousands of additional middle class children…so that all children enter kindergarten prepared for academic success.”

A report released last year by The Future of Children found that access to preschool education could minimize the Latino-white school readiness gap by 26%.

“We can keep trying to play catch-up or we can have an effect on the front end, by leveling the playing field from the beginning,” Duncan added.

NBC Latino
The White House