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'Preschool for All' Shouldn't Be 'One-Size-Fits-All'

  ·  Sylvia Puente

"[Let's] make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind," President Barack Obama said in his call to action for universal pre-K.

And as Latinos have the lowest preschool attendance rate of any group in the U.S., there's ample opportunity for the president's call to focus on boosting access for these young learners. There's also urgency: Illinois Latinos are up to six months behind their peers in cognitive measures before they even begin kindergarten, the start of a gap that develops into frustratingly low high school graduation rates. (This national report points to an eight-month gap for Mexican-American kids.)

I applaud the spirit of the federal plan to connect all American children with high-quality preschool. Research has long supported the benefits of early childhood education: Those who attend preschool are 20 percent more likely to graduate high school and, down the road, will earn 50 percent more than non-preschoolers. It follows that in times of fiscal austerity, preschool makes sense financially. Funds invested in early education produce a 10 percent annual rate of return in the form of increased workforce productivity, as well as lower expenditures in remedial education, health and criminal justice.

 

Read the rest of this blog where it originally appeared, on Huffington Post Latino Voices

Posted In: Education, Access & Resources

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