Editorial: How to help Latino kids overcome a disadvantage
LA School Report | April 7, 2015
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By The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board
On the day they start kindergarten, Latino children are often already at a disadvantage. Their social skills and readiness to listen and learn are top-notch, but their cognitive and verbal skills, abilities that strongly predict future academic success, tend to be significantly less developed than those of their white peers. If they have attended preschool, that may have helped, but a new study from UC Berkeley confirms what other research has found: The discrepancy starts much earlier, and even high-quality preschool makes up only about a third of the deficit.
Why the big difference? According to child-development experts, the parents of white children are talking to their children more, telling stories, reading books and inviting them to suggest their own ideas — even when they’re too young to speak.
In other words, preschool alone will not prepare toddlers for success in school. That’s a problem. But solutions are clear, inexpensive and relatively easy to achieve.
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