Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic

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Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic

Transcript Of Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic

Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic Origin in Maryland
July 2012

Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D. State Superintendent of Schools
James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr. President, Maryland State Board of Education
Rolf Grafwallner, Ph.D. Assistant State Superintendent Division of Early Childhood Development
Martin O’Malley Governor
The Maryland State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, creed, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation in matters affecting employment or in providing access to programs. For inquiries related to departmental policy, please contact:
Equity Assurance and Compliance Branch Maryland State Department of Education 200 W. Baltimore Street – 6th Floor Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595 410.767.0433 (voice) 410.767.0431 (fax) 410.333.6442 (TTY/TDD)
For more information about this publication, contact: Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Development 200 West Baltimore Street Baltimore, Maryland 21201 410-767-0335
www.marylandpublicschools.org
© Maryland State Department of Education 2012

CONTENTS
Introduction........................................................................................................................... 1 Language and Literacy Development...................................................................................... 2 An Urgent Demographic Imperative....................................................................................... 2 Poverty vs. Early Literacy Development................................................................................. 3 Unique Linguistic and Immigration Profile............................................................................. 4
Child Care and Early Education Needs .............................................................................. 6 Workforce Issues..................................................................................................................... 6 Immigration and Early Care and Education............................................................................ 9 Educational Challenges........................................................................................................... 10 English Language Fluency and School Performance.............................................................. 11
How Are Hispanic Children Best Served by Early Education Programs?....................... 12 Maryland Model for School Readiness................................................................................... 12 Using the MMSR Kindergarten Assessment........................................................................... 13 Collaborative Systems............................................................................................................. 14
Closing the Gap: Programs that Work .............................................................................. 15 The Silver Spring Judy Center/Outreach Effort for Hispanic Families: Montgomery County 16 EBLO/ Education Based Latino Outreach: Baltimore City.................................................... 16 Latino Provider Network: Baltimore City Metro Area ........................................................... 16 Montgomery Housing Partnership: Montgomery County....................................................... 16 Padres y Alumnos Latinos en Accion (PALA) Latino Parents and Students in Action........... 17 Mid Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc.: Mid-Atlantic Region.................................................. 17 Maryland State Parental Information Resource Center .......................................................... 18 CentroNia, Takoma Park......................................................................................................... 18 Vocabulary Improvement and Oral Language Enrichment through Stories (VIOLETS)....... 18
Conclusion.............................................................................................................................. 20 References.............................................................................................................................. 22 Acknowledgments................................................................................................................. 24

Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic Origin in Maryland
July 30, 2012
Dear Colleague:
In the past decade, Hispanics have become the fastest growing and youngest racial/ethnic group in Maryland. The number of Hispanic children as a proportion of all children has been increasing more rapidly than the number of non-Hispanic, White, and African-American children for all age groups. Yet, despite their large numbers at the elementary, middle and high school levels, young children, birth to age five, are underrepresented in early education programs.
This has profound implications for Maryland’s public education system as it strives to prepare world-class students and to maintain the status of #1 in the nation. For that reason, it is my pleasure to share with you Early Care and Education for Children of Hispanic Origin in Maryland: Study on the Context of School Readiness.
This report: • Presents research supporting the importance of the connection between early literacy skills
development and later literacy achievement and the impact of instructional interventions on children’s learning; • Outlines a cogent case for the “demographic imperative” that Hispanic children age birth to eight years pose for Maryland’s public education system’s blueprint to maintain its place as a national leader and to strive toward world-class status; • Reveals the barriers which impede participation in early childhood programs for young children of Hispanic origin; • Highlights solutions by presenting successful early education programs in Maryland; and • Proposes policies and research implications to address the educational challenges of young children of Hispanic origin in Maryland.
I am both heartened by our State’s progress and motivated to continue actively exploring and developing effective and scalable strategies to increase school engagement and learning for all children. On behalf of all who have worked so hard to see that our children have every possible opportunity to succeed, I urge you to use this indispensible report vigorously to promote school readiness for all of Maryland’s young children.
Sincerely,
Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D. State Superintendent of Schools

Maryland State Department of Education - Preparing World-Class Students

INTRODUCTION

The dramatic growth of the Hispanic population in the state of Maryland has begun to alter the landscape and it has critical implications for the present and future of economic and social policy in the state, with particular emphasis on education. During this first half of the 21st century, we are witnessing a demographic shift that is transforming not only our state but U.S. society as well. In 2004, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the Hispanic population overtook the African American population as the nation’s largest minority group. In the forty years between 1960 and the year 2000, the Hispanic population grew five-fold, from 6.9 to 35.3 million (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002, p.8). By 2002, one in eight people in the United States were of Hispanic origin (Ramirez & de la Cruz, 2003, p.3). Although Maryland’s Hispanic population has not yet reached such numbers, there are areas of the state that are impacted quite dramatically and reflect the national trend. Moreover, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) 2011-2012 student data supports this trend showing steady increases in the Hispanic student population throughout the twenty four school districts (marylandpublicschools.org).

This trend has profound implications for Maryland’s public education system’s blueprint to maintain its place as a national leader and strive toward world-class status. For the past four years, Maryland’s public schools have been ranked as the nation’s best. Over the past three decades “Maryland has built a strong foundation, policy by policy, through two waves of reform to achieve national status as a leader in educational excellence.” (Maryland’s 3rd Wave of Reform, MSDE, 2010, p.1). During the first wave of reform (1989-2002) the State implemented a comprehensive system of public assessment and accountability to hold schools, local school systems, and the state accountable for student achievement. An ambitious second wave of reform (2002-2009) included a significant increase in state funding for all schools, increased accountability, a new early childhood governance and infrastructure, development of a state wide pre-k to 12 curriculum, alternative pathways for High School students, and stronger preparation and development programs for school leaders and teachers. At the present time, Maryland is preparing to launch its third wave of reform—to create a world-class system that prepares students for college and career success in the 21st century. World-class means recognizing and acting on the new reality that a high school diploma is just the starting point; every student must be prepared to

succeed in college or the workplace (Maryland’s 3rd Wave of Reform, 2010, p.1).
Yet, how might this transformational demographic shift impact Maryland’s plans to retain its #1 status nationally and achieve worldclass status?
This demographic shift poses educational challenges that must be addressed to bring Maryland’s educational system to the next level. They are manifested first among young children from birth through age 5. In that age range Hispanics are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the State (Maryland State Department of Education, Title III/ELL Spring Briefing, May, 2010).

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Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic Origin in Maryland

This report explores two major issues.
· Significant demographic shift which call for a “demographic imperative” that Hispanic children ages birth-8 years pose for Maryland’s public education system’s blueprint to maintain its place as a national leader and strive toward world-class status;
· Identification of programs that work and outline potential barriers for meeting the “demographic imperative.”
According to this report, the number of Hispanic children as a proportion of all children has been increasing throughout Maryland more rapidly than the number of non-Hispanic White and African-American children for all age groups. This demographic shift defines a new imperative for addressing the needs of Hispanic young children and their families.
Language and Literacy Development
In Early Beginnings: Early Literacy Knowledge and Instruction, (2002), the National Early Literacy Panel identifies research evidence that highlights the importance of the connection between early literacy skills development and later literacy achievement, and the impact of instructional interventions on children’s learning. According to the report, “patterns of learning in pre-school are closely linked to later achievement: children who develop more skills in the pre-school years perform better in the primary grades” (p.4). The development of early skills appeared to be particularly important in the area of literacy, especially reading. Providing young children with the critical precursor skills to reading can offer a path to improving overall school achievement later as they learn more complex academic skills (Children Entering School Ready to Learn: School Readiness Information for School Year 2008-09. p.3).
The home setting also plays a pivotal role in the development of important skills that can provide
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young children with the cornerstones for the development of later academic skills (The National Early Literacy Panel, p.4). Even before starting school, children can become aware of systematic patterns of sounds in any spoken language. This encompasses learning to manipulate sounds in words, recognizing words and breaking them apart into smaller units, learning the relationship between sounds and letters, and building their oral language and vocabulary skills. These are all skills that the National Early Literacy Panel found to be precursors to children’s later growth in the ability to decode and comprehend text, to write, and to spell.
An Urgent Demographic Imperative
The age distribution and growth of the Hispanic population have critical implications for the present and future of social and economic policy in our state, with particular emphasis on early care and education. Based on on-site visits and interviews with staff from the Maryland Parental Information Resource Center in Montgomery County, the number of Hispanic children as a proportion of all children has been increasing more rapidly than the number of non-Hispanic White and African-American children for all age groups in several areas of the county. According to the Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) 2010 English Language Learner’s (ELLs) Student Population Trend Data, the number of ELL Hispanic students in the state grew from 25,734 in 2008-2009 to 28,610 in 2009-2010 (MSDE, Title III/ELL Spring Briefing, May, 2010).
Young Hispanic children are of particular interest because they constitute an urgent demographic imperative. There are two very important reasons for an increased focus on that population:
· the size of the group increasingly impacts the results of the overall population;
· the policy importance of this critical early age range (birth-5 years) is especially relevant in terms of educational, college, and career investments.

Maryland State Department of Education - Preparing World-Class Students

According to Gormley, Gayer, Phillips, & Dawson, (2005) “early educational and health disparities related to Hispanic immigrant status are more malleable than they will later be after the highly cumulative effects of social institutions, environmental conditions, and differential opportunity have taken hold.” (p.874). In Maryland, the benefits of early learning and its relation to school readiness has had a profound influence not only on the quality of future adults but also our economy. This notion of preemptive educational intervention is supported in NobelPrize winning economist James J. Heckman’s research (2010), which illustrates how effective early care and education can decrease the need for Special Education and remediation, as well as juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, and drop-out rates.
Poverty vs. Early Literacy Development
This racial/ethnic group’s unprecedented growth is particularly alarming due to its socio-economic situation. First, in 2008, the average annual personal earning of Hispanics in Maryland was $24,441.00, compared to $40,736.00 for Non Hispanic Whites and $34,218.00 for AfricanAmericans (Pew Hispanic Center Survey, 2008, p.5). Secondly, given the median age of the Hispanic population in Maryland, (28 years old), and its high fertility rate, one can assume a sizable increase in the number of Hispanic children less than five years of age. According to the 2008 Pew Hispanic Center Survey, in Maryland there were more than 9,000 births to Hispanic women during 12 months. This represented 11% of all births in Maryland that year. These trends are also reflected at the national level, whereby the annual personal earning for Hispanics is similar to Maryland’s, if not lower, and the total fertility rate of Hispanic women is also considerably higher than those of Whites and other groups. These conditions will make certain that young Hispanic children under the age of five become the largest racial/ethnic population and are more likely to live in poverty compared to other groups.

The majority of recently arrived Hispanic immigrants in the U.S., as well as Maryland, come from Mexico and Central America (Pew, 2008, p.1). They are often poorly educated, lack literacy skills in their own language and cannot understand nor speak English (Torres, 1998, p.45). Many come here illegally, either alone or with their families, in search of work. In the year 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 62% of all children of immigrant families in the U.S. were of Hispanic origin (Garcia, & Jensen, 2009, p.3). Furthermore, recent national demographic data indicate that 93% of young children (under 6) of immigrants are Hispanic. Although smaller in number, Hispanics are also considered the largest immigrant population in Maryland (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010, p.2).
Children from these immigrant families are much more likely to live in crowded housing, in poverty, and in linguistically isolated homes where family members may have very limited if any formal education, lack health insurance, and have limited access to high quality early childhood programs. As a result, those children miss out on learning those critical precursor skills which can ultimately offer them a path to success in school as well as overall achievement.
In a similar vein, Robert Crosnoe in his seminal work, Mexican roots American school: The academic trajectory of immigrant youth. (2006), points out that we need to focus “on the explicit ways that the outcomes of the child generation in this population are inextricably tied to the circumstances of the parent generation” (p.12). In other words, within the context of education we must also examine the way in which the educational trajectories of parent and child are connected to each other. Therefore, when considering policy recommendations we must not only address interventions targeting the child, but, also think of mechanisms through which improving parents’ lives can help the child as well (p.12).

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Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic Origin in Maryland

Unique Linguistic and Immigration Profile
Among racial/ethnic groups Hispanics have a unique immigration and linguistic profile. Hispanic children in the U.S. are not a homogeneous group. They all come from very diverse social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. These children, for example, represent various countries-of-origin with many unique combinations of histories, cultural practices, perspectives and traditions. It is also important to recognize that the children in immigrant families are not themselves immigrants. Rather, about three-quarters of the children in immigrant families are American-born; and a large majority of these children are Hispanics (Garcia, & Jensen, 2009, p.3). This phenomenon is also true for Maryland’s Hispanic population.
Due to variations in nativity, national origin, and related social factors, receptive and expressive language skills vary within the young Hispanic population. Some young children acquire English as their first language and maintain monolingual proficiency throughout their lives. Usually, these children are more likely to have native (U.S.) born parents who tend to be second generation immigrants. Others speak Spanish as their first language and learn English as they enter school. These children are referred to as “sequential bilinguals” (p.3). The proportional size of this subpopulation has been growing rapidly over the past few decades. A final (and very small) subset of Hispanic children develops English and Spanish fluency simultaneously and at comparable levels in the home and in school (August, & Shanahan, 2006, p.2).

attributed to the fact that many parents of young Hispanic children have limited English proficiency (Hernandez, 2006, p.23).
In most cases the lack of English proficiency will also be accompanied by a lack of native language/literacy skills. According to the U.S. Census in 2010, nearly three fourths of young Hispanic children in immigrant families (71%) live with at least one parent who has limited English proficiency (LEP), not speaking English exclusively or not very well, and one half (49%) live with two such parents. Overall, Hispanics of every age are more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to be LEP, have one or two parents who are also LEP, and live in linguistically isolated homes—households in which no one over the age of 13 speaks English exclusively (Torres,1998, p. 43).
The quality and quantity of bilingualism or English and Spanish used in the home, is associated with several factors pertaining to immigration, demographics, and socio-economic backgrounds. Associations have been found between the levels of English and Spanish proficiency spoken at home and the immigrant family’s country of origin. For example, children of Mexican ancestry are less likely to be bilingual than those from other national origins. Furthermore, Hispanic children from Dominican, Mexican, and Central American backgrounds are more likely than Hispanics from other national origins to be LEP and to have one or two LEP parents. The highest relative proportion of bilingualism among Hispanic children was found among Cubans (Hernandez, 2006, p.12).

Similarly, differences in language development are most commonly attributable to variations of language practices in the home. Approximately three in four young Hispanic children live in homes in which Spanish is spoken on a regular basis as the primary language. A smaller group lived in homes whereby English was primarily spoken, with some Spanish. The smallest group spoke only Spanish at home. These differences are

It is noteworthy to mention that the reasons behind a group’s decision to immigrate to the U.S. can be a determining factor in their socio-economic level. The language proficiency of young Hispanics has been closely associated with household income (Torres,1998, p.43). For example, Hispanics who immigrate due to political reasons, (e.g., Cubans) enter the country legally, tend to be well educated, and come from the middle or upper middle

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Maryland State Department of Education - Preparing World-Class Students

socio-economic classes in their native country. They also understand the value, sacrifices, and delayed gratification associated with educational opportunity. Overall, this group’s first generation is able to achieve English fluency, assimilate to the American culture, and obtain financial and economic stability. Hispanic children from this group have been exposed more to language and literacy skills (English or Spanish) and therefore, are more likely to be more language proficient before they start school. However, those who immigrate in search of employment tend to enter the country illegally, have a limited education if at all, do not assimilate until the second or third generation, do not achieve English fluency usually until the third generation, and are normally from the low socio-economic class in their native country. For the most part, this group may reach financial and economic stability in their adopted country by the second or third generation. Hispanic children from this group are not as exposed to language, English or Spanish, and lack vocabulary and oral language skills before they enter school (Torres, 1998, p.43).

In Maryland, detailed data pertaining to immigrant student’s home language usage or the parent’s level of English proficiency is scarce and varies from county to county. (Ideally, this data should reflect all students whose home language is not English. This would include a broader cohort than just those needing English as a Second Language (ESOL) instruction.) However, practitioners from Montgomery County, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County who were interviewed and provided information for this policy brief agreed that the profile of home language practices described above can also be applied to Maryland. Maryland’s Hispanic immigrant adult population is mostly from Central America and Mexico. They come from a very low socio-economic background, are poorly educated and most of them lack literacy skills in their native language (Torres, 1998, p.45). Having information pertaining to the child’s home language and the parent’s level of English provides the school with valuable insight regarding the home setting and its role in the development of important skills needed before the child enters school.

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Early Care and Education Experiences for Children of Hispanic Origin in Maryland

CHILD CARE AND EARLY EDUCATION NEEDS

There are four primary issues influencing the early care and educational needs of Hispanic children and their families in Maryland. These were observed and compiled through a series of site visits, data review, phone interviews, and detailed input from practitioners in three school districts with different levels of impact serving Hispanic children: Montgomery County (High- Impact); Baltimore County (MidImpact); and Baltimore City (Low-Impact).

The first issue centers on workforce issues and the demand for child care to support working parents, including those who are transitioning off welfare. The second grows out of the confluence of immigration, workforce status of immigrant families, and the economic hardships faced by their children. The third stems from the educational challenges facing Hispanics throughout their life span. The fourth relates to the difficulties faced by English-language learners whose native or dominant language is other than English. What is relevant about these four issues is that they impact both the adults as well as the children in the family.
Workforce Issues
Hispanic families face the same challenges finding high quality child care as non-Hispanics with comparable socio-economic characteristics (e.g., high incidence of poverty; low wage jobs; and jobs with inflexible work schedule and nontraditional hours, including nights and weekends) and family composition (e.g., large number of children from birth to age 5). In addition, Hispanic families struggle to find childcare that is linguistically and culturally compatible. Despite these challenges, there has been very little research focusing on documenting the workforce issues and childcare needs of Hispanics.

public” (Child Care Bureau, 2001, p.1).
One of the characteristics of Hispanic families which was commonly cited at this forum is the apparent preference for “informal” child care arrangements as opposed to organized child care such as child care centers, non/public nurseries, pre-school, Head Start, or family child care (Child Care Bureau, 2001, p.1). This situation has led some administrators and policymakers to assume that “informal” child care settings-- including family, friend, and neighbor care-- are strongly preferred by Hispanics over child care centers. This may be the case; however, there is no data (state or national) to support it. It is also possible that these statistics may not tell the whole story.

In November 1999, during a National Leadership Forum sponsored by the Child Care Bureau on “Child Care Issues of the Hispanic Community,” participants came to the conclusion that “the Hispanic population is among the fastest growing and youngest segments of American society, yet families confront lower quality and lower supply of available child care in relation to the general

A recent study of Hispanic families and child care centers in Chicago, where Hispanics constitute 26% of the total city population, suggests that availability may be a key factor. Latina mothers needing child care generally viewed child care centers favorably; the fact that few Latinos used child care centers is because affordable center care is not available in their neighborhoods. The

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