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Why Aren't More Latino Children in Preschool?

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One of the reasons that preschool attendance is low among Latinos in the United States is low-income neighborhoods have a scarcity of preschool slots, according to an article published yesterday in the Chicago Tribune. The article notes that funds from the federal stimulus package could help to alleviate the situation.

The story doesn't mention a finding I came across in a research brief and blogged about a couple years ago: In Mexico, where preschool is free, low attendance in preschool isn't a problem.

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There is also a problem with language difference. The pre-school years, especially in impoverished households, are best for developing the native language not for teaching English. There can be very real problems if the child is taught in English in preschool and begin to lose their native language. How do children and family communicate fluently? There is also an arrogance on the part of "society" to use these years to teach English and ignore the native language. Why would Latino parents want to put these kids in preschool to essentially have their young children "taken away" from them? There is little regard for native languages except for lip service.

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