Friday, June 26, 2015

Early Education Gaps by Social Class and Race Start U.S. Children Out on Unequal Footing

How will attack teachers, because they happen to teach children from lower on the socio-economic ladder, do any good for the profession, for the students?

As long as we do not address the gripping inequality of the economy, the reformers will have ample opportunity to cite disparity in educational outcomes and continue the attacks on teachers, students and schools. What will activists do, to resist this?

Early Education Gaps by Social Class and Race Start U.S. Children Out on Unequal Footing 

Understanding disparities in school readiness among America’s children when they begin kindergarten is critically important, now more than ever. In today’s 21st century global economy, we expect the great majority of our children to complete high school ready to enter college or begin a career, and assume their civic responsibilities. This requires strong math, reading, science, and other cognitive skills, as well as the abilities to work well and communicate effectively with others, solve problems creatively, and see tasks to completion.

 Unfortunately, the weak early starts that many of our children are getting make it hard to attain these societal goals. Since key foundations for learning are established beginning at birth, starting school behind makes it likely that early disadvantages will persist as children progress through school, and last into their adult lives.

 Knowing which groups of children tend to start school behind, how far behind they are, and what factors contribute to their lag, can help us develop policies to avert the early gaps that become long-term problems. Inequalities at the Starting Gate: Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills Gaps between 2010–2011 Kindergarten Classmates explores gaps by social class and race/ethnicity in both cognitive skills—math, reading, and executive function—and noncognitive skills such as self-control, approaches to learning, and interactions with teachers and peers. We refer to these skills gaps as gaps in school readiness. 
Low social class poses major barriers to young children’s readiness in reading and math 

Black and Hispanic ELL children begin kindergarten with the greatest disadvantages in math and reading, due largely to links between minority status and social class  

Low social class also affects children’s social, behavioral, and other noncognitive skills 

Read the rest of Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss' June 17, 2015 article at Portside here.

Here is the direct link to the major article at the National Institute for Early Education Research that they summarize:

Inequalities at the starting gate

Cognitive and noncognitive skills gaps between 2010–2011 kindergarten classmates
Friday, June 19, 2015
Emma Garcia
Economic Policy Institute
This study seeks to broaden the debate by examining the education gaps that exist even before children enter formal schooling in kindergarten, and showing that the gaps extend to noncognitive skills, which are also critical for adulthood outcomes (Heckman 2008; Heckman & Kautz 2012). Regarding the analysis of early education gaps, this paper is modeled on Lee and Burkam’s 2002 monograph Inequality at the Starting Gate: Social Background Differences in Achievement as Children Begin School, which found that cognitive gaps between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds and races and ethnicities were both sizeable and statistically significant at school entry in kindergarten.1 This is important for policymakers because, if unaddressed, there is the potential that gaps persist over time and compound. Such early-in-life inequalities point to the need for substantial interventions to reduce them, including early educational interventions, to ensure that children arrive in kindergarten ready to learn and for compensatory policies to support these children throughout the school years (from kindergarten through 12th grade). Moreover, the social and economic disadvantages that generate these gaps should be addressed directly and eliminated through social and economic policies, not just education policies (Morsy and Rothstein 2015; Putman 2015; Rothstein 2004).