The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) recently released a report calling for new policies to increase preschool quality and access for Latino families. The report cited recent research from the University of California, Berkeley, which showed that in 2009 while 70 percent of white and 69 percent of African-American children attended preschool, only 48 percent of Latino children were enrolled.
NCLR’s report identifies two major barriers that hinder early learning in Latino children: the shortage of preschool programs that are designed to take advantage of the latest research on language acquisition and the lack of access Latino families have to center-based preschools (due to both limited numbers of facilities and lack of knowledge of where they are and how to enroll).
To reduce these barriers, the report recommends that the federal government require states to benchmark stages of English-language acquisition and provide better training for early childhood educators. To improve access, NCLR advocates establishing capital subsidies to build more preschools and partnering with community-based organizations to get the word out to parents.