A story in the Chicago Tribune this week recaps new research showing metro area Latinos have stayed trapped in low-skill, low-wage jobs in a handful of industries over the last decade, even though the overwhelming majority of them are American citizens. Lack of education appears to be the key factor holding them back.
I’ve seen a number of stories about changing demographics and the rising numbers of Latino babies in locales all over the United States. Often they are contrasted with declining birth rates for non-Hispanics. But a recent story in the Tulsa World went a constructive step further to show how the demographic change is affecting policy and practice among the city’s Head Start programs.
Here in Chicago last week, the Latino Policy Forum and Advance Illinois co-hosted a breakfast discussion with Donald Hernandez, a sociologist with Hunter College, City University of New York, about his recent research showing that children’s reading prowess in third grade strongly predicts whether or not they will graduate from high school.
Last week I received a press release announcing that two researchers from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education had won a $40,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to study language acquisition in Latino preschoolers. The study is already under way, and the researchers were willing to share some preliminary findings from their work via email.
Everyone wants the schools that serve disadvantaged students to improve their instruction, but actually making that happen is difficult. A new report from Chicago-based Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) details how a group of 11 low-income, predominantly Latino schools have started to create change.
Lots of headlines have already been written about the new census data showing Latino population growth in Illinois. Many, like this Daily Herald piece, focus on the growth in Chicago’s suburbs and its possible political consequences. While much of the gain is concentrated in the suburbs of Chicago–and that also has brought changes to hundreds of school districts–Illinois schools beyond the metro area are also encountering Latino students, some for the first time.
Back in May, Education Week reported on a University of California-Berkeley study showing that a majority of Latino children enter kindergarten with the same social skills as middle-class white children. Researchers found a strong correlation between the level of social skills children brought with them starting kindergarten and the gains they made in math skills during their kindergarten year.
Monica beat me to it today with a post on the latest issue of the Harvard Educational Review, which focuses on how immigration status affects children. I’d also like to discuss this article, concentrating on the impact in the earliest years of these students’ lives. This article makes a few important points about how undocumented status can exacerbate two issues that hinder cognitive development in young children: poverty and social capital.
Check out this link to the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s online Q & A with Karen Nemeth, a longtime bilingual educator, teacher trainer and author of Many Languages, One Classroom. She’ll be taking questions through Friday, September 16.
Yesterday I had the chance to visit Chicago’s Erikson Institute, the nation’s only higher education center exclusively dedicated to early childhood education. Erikson won a federal i3 grant to expand its Early Math Project, which coaches early educators in strategies that help children progress in mathematical thinking.
This week a few items crossed my desk and got me thinking about how improving the quality of early educators is likely to benefit both Latino preschoolers and those Latinos (mostly Latinas) entering early education as a career.
The race is on among states competing for a slice of the $500 million federal dollars set aside to improve early childhood education systems. In August, the U.S. Department of Education released the application for its Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, a competition to reward states that align the many players involved in early childhood to improve data and program quality assessments and expand access to more high-risk children.
New research from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences shows that bilingual babies stay open to different speech sounds for a longer period than monolingual babies and that the relative amount of each language babies are exposed to affects their vocabulary as toddlers. Not surprisingly, in a sample of English/Spanish bilingual babies, the more of one language they heard, the more of that language they spoke at 15 months.
As both the mom of a bilingual toddler and an observer of how children in a Chicago Mexican immigrant neighborhood learn English, I have more to say about the AP story on how parents raise children multilingually.
Yesterday, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) released an issue brief on state policies supporting young English-language-learners. The brief cites a 2010 Urban Institute report that says one in four U.S. children has a parent who was born in another country. Most of these children speak a language other than English at home.
I’m on a quest. My son’s second birthday is coming up this weekend, and I want to find the books for two-year-olds that children read with their parents in Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world. So far, the best one I have is a book my in-laws brought up from Mexico when they visited last summer, La Guardaría (The Nursery). I’m ashamed to confess our home library of Spanish and bilingual titles is pretty small and mostly consists of translations from books first published in English.
A number of early childhood learning experts I’ve talked with describe programs like Head Start and Educare as “two-generation” strategies: They not only benefit young children directly, but they also help parents increase their parenting skills and further their own educations. At heart, strengthening a parent’s literacy and commitment to education pays off for both parent and child, especially before children enter elementary school.
You may have spotted Sarah Garland’s great article on the Pre-K -3 movement either at the Hechinger site or at Education Week. Pre-K-3 is a new effort among funders and early learning advocates to build better bridges from preschool to kindergarten and beyond. Garland paints it as an ambitious policy agenda covering universal preschool, full-day kindergarten for all and connected curriculum from pre-school through third grade.
Today’s Chicago Tribune continues its recent census coverage with a story on the surging numbers of Latino preschoolers throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs. (Full disclosure: My son is one of them.) Within Chicago proper, just over 40 percent of children under age five are Latino.
In the mid-1980s, anthropologist Joseph Tobin published the landmark study Preschool in Three Cultures: China, Japan and the United States. Two years ago, with colleagues Yeh Hsueh and Mayumi Karasawa, he published a new version, Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited. The original book looked at one preschool from each of the three countries; the new book expands to two schools.
In April, construction started on a new Educare center in West Chicago, a suburb in Illinois’ DuPage County, about 30 miles west of the Windy City. Educare is nationally recognized for providing high-quality early care and instruction for children from birth to age five. Educare of West DuPage, as the new center is known, is their first site in a suburban location.
In June, the watchdog publication Catalyst Chicago published an In Depth report showing that Chicago lags behind other large urban districts in providing full-day kindergarten. (Full disclosure: I used to write for them.) While New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco routinely provide full-day kindergarten to all their students, Chicago does not.
This week, my story on what states are likely to do to win Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants was published by Education Week. The story gives a good national overview of the kinds of things states will be encouraged to do to win the money: build data systems, create quality ratings for daycare centers and other early learning programs, and so forth.
The national advocacy group Pre-K Now, an arm of the Pew Center on the States, recently released a report highlighting five examples nationally of districts and regions where pre-K has been used to turn around low-performing districts.
So, I have a story idea I’m never going to get around to, and I’d like to give it away here. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with the folks from Reach out and Read, who put books in pediatricians’ offices, encourage the doctors to get them in families’ hands, who then tell parents how to use the books as developmental screening tools for very young children. This program has seen a lot of success.
In the world of early education, the Montgomery County, Md. school district is well-known for its remarkable efforts to build a seamless pipeline that moves students not just from pre-K to third grade but all the way to college. A new report from the Foundation for Child Development highlights the district’s success with its English language learners (ELLs), 62 percent of whom are Spanish-speaking.
Hi, everyone! Welcome to Latino Ed Beat, where we’ll think about how to cover the news through the dual lenses of Latinos and education. I live and breathe this as both an early childhood reporter for Education Week and the mom of a Latino toddler. My husband is from Mexico City, and we live in a predominantly immigrant and second-generation Mexican neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.