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ERIC Number: ED509217
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 97
ISSN: ISSN-1075-7031
Early Educational Opportunities for Children of Hispanic Origins. Social Policy Report. Volume XXIII, Number II
Garcia, Eugene; Jensen, Bryant
Society for Research in Child Development
This paper argues that young Hispanic (or Latina/o) children (ages 3 to 8 years) should be of particular interest to policymakers, practitioners, and researchers in education. Young Hispanic children constitute an urgent demographic imperative. Young Hispanic children are not only the largest racial/ethnic group in the U.S., but also the youngest and fastest-growing. Among racial/ethnic groups, Hispanics have a unique linguistic profile. Approximately three in four young Hispanic children lives in homes in which at least some Spanish is spoken regularly. Empirical evidence suggests that certain interventions during the early years are a wise investment to improving learning opportunities and outcomes for Hispanic children. Hispanics lag behind their white and Asian-American peers at all proficiency levels of reading and mathematics at the beginning and throughout PK-12 schooling. In order for young Hispanics to succeed in academic contexts, they need strong English skills. Recent research suggests academic benefits of bilingual over English-only programs, enough to close one-fifth to one-third of the overall Hispanic-White reading performance gap. Moreover, recent research shows young Hispanics are particularly positioned to benefit from prekindergarten participation even though they are less likely to attend compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Our recommendations include that the federal government: (1) underwrite tests of programs designed to produce large increases in the number of culturally knowledgeable preschool and early elementary teachers proficient in English and Spanish fund and experiment with teacher preparation programs to recruit more Spanish-speaking undergraduates and teachers who are trained in second language acquisition to work as language specialists; (2) continue to explore and expand dual-language (DL) programs through Head Start, Early Head Start, and other grant programs; and (3) expand the scope of the national and international databases developed to assess student performance. (Contains 5 tables.) [Commentaries from Robert Crosnoe and James Griffin are also included.]
Society for Research in Child Development. 2950 South State Street Suite 401, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Tel: 734-926-0600; Fax: 734-926-0601; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research in Child Development