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Illinois Latino children less likely to attend preschool

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Latino children in Illinois are less likely to go to preschool than children from other backgrounds. That’s according to a new study out today. The report finds that only about 35 percent of Latino four-year-olds attend preschool. White students attend pre-school at about double that rate. Among African American children, the rate is 54 percent.

Researcher Bruce Fuller of the University of California-Berkeley says the disparity is driven by a lack of seats in Hispanic neighborhoods in Illinois.

“In Latino communities parents face just scarcer supply of preschool slots than in white and African American communities,” Fuller says.

Fuller says there are traditions in some Latino communities that keep family members caring for young children. A separate study Fuller released last year showed that Latino kids are highly engaged in kindergarten and bring strong social skills to school with them.

But he says cognitively, Latino kids are entering Kindergarten between four and five months behind their white peers in pre-literacy skills and vocabulary—and that’s regardless of the language they’re tested in.

About one in five students in the state is Hispanic.

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