By Luis M. Laosa and Pat Ainsworth
NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 13, March 2007)
While public preschool programs are expanding across the country, there is a lag in participation by the nation’s fastest growing and yet most educationally challenged group—Hispanic children. In this brief from NIEER, the authors present information about the Hispanic population in the context of preschool education and discuss issues of access, program quality, and instructional challenges as they relate to addressing the needs of Hispanic families. Many Hispanic children enter school behind their non-Hispanic counterparts and the authors contend that the gap in school readiness is unlikely to improve without an effort to increase preschool participation by Hispanic children and design programs to better accommodate their learning needs. Recommendations include making ELL status a factor considered for targeted programs, comparative analyses of targeted programs, and better reporting systems to ensure quality data for research on Hispanic children and early education policies.