Duncan: More Hispanic children need to enroll in preschool - The Washington Post: Record numbers of Hispanic students are staying in high school, graduating and enrolling in college, but they lag behind other groups in preschool attendance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday morning.
“Less than half of Hispanic children attend any kind of preschool – that’s kind of staggering,” Duncan told reporters at a breakfast meeting. “This is the fastest-growing population and a lower-than-average participation rate.”
In the past decade, Hispanics have made significant gains in later grades. In 2010, 78 percent of Hispanics graduated from high school, compared to 64 percent in 2000. During the same period, the high school dropout rate for Hispanics was cut in half from 28 percent to 14 percent.
And, for the first time, Hispanics enrolled in college in 2012 at higher rates than white students. According to a Pew Research Center analysis released this month, 69 percent of Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall compared to 67 percent of white students.
While all of that is cause for celebration, Duncan said, policymakers, community leaders and educators need to increase the rates of Hispanic children who attend preschool.