The study, “Making Math Count More For Young Latino Children,” examined specifically the two group performances on math scores. The research proved that Latinx children’s math skills were behind those of their white counterparts by a span of three months. This means that if a white and Latinx student both start school at the same time, it would take the Latinx kindergartner three months to catch up to where the white student stands academically.
The data stems from a national sample and concludes that poverty is one of the main factors that influence the inequality. It’s estimated that at least half of the study’s Latinx participants live in poverty. Therefore, they were twice than likely to be poor than their white classmates. Yet after counting income level as a factor, researchers found that Latinx and white students learn math within the same juncture.
David Murphery, one of the report’s authors, says that placing a stereotype on the less privileged for their backgrounds and social-economical statuses holds them back.
“We know that when teachers, parents, communities, and the culture at large hold negative stereotypes (including low academic expectations) of minority-group members and don’t positively affirm cultural diversity, their performance suffers,” Murphey told The Atlantic. “This sort of bias has a long historical legacy and will not be quickly undone.”
This is why it’s important to address these issues, but also become proactive in helping to bridge the gap. The researchers also found that Latinx children who have more access to books tend to progress more in a academic setting.
Additionally, back in 2014, the Pew Research Center reported that, one in four American kindergarteners are Latinx—especially in states like New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, Washington and California.
That said, the Child Trends researchers predict that, “Achievement gaps will no longer be issues solely of equity and justice, but will threaten our nation’s ability to maintain our position as a global leader.”
More needs to be done.