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Goodnight, pre-K gap

September 1, 2016
Yahoo! News
Yahoo! News

For at least a half century, the United States has tried to better prepare young children for kindergarten, especially those from poor and minority households. The results have been rarely encouraging. The gap in readiness for school among children by both race and income seemed as gloomy as Eeyore. That is, until researchers, sifting through national data from 1998 to 2010, discovered otherwise.

Not only did children in general start school better prepared during that period but also the poorest children made larger gains than those from wealthier families, according to Sean Reardon of Stanford University and Ximena Portilla of the research firm MDRC, authors of a new study. In particular, Hispanic children reduced the gap with whites by 14 percent. And on certain measures, black children reduced the gap with whites.

If this recent trend toward an equal start in education keeps improving, other research shows that the next generation will have a greater chance of earning higher incomes and living better lives.