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Skills Gaps

"Inequalities at the Starting Gate"

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Children enter kindergarten with academic and "soft skills" gaps that can be linked directly to their socioeconomic status, says an economic policy group that examined federal data on kindergarten students.

The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute found that race-based gaps in skills such as reading and math, eagerness to learn, persistence, and focus shrink significantly when socioeconomic status is taken into account.

About 46 percent of black children and 63 percent of Hispanic English-learners live in poverty, the study notes.

Its title is a deliberate allusion to a 2002 report published by EPI called "Inequality at the Starting Gate," which drew on the experiences of children who started school in 1998.

The new study showed that the disparities extend to noncognitive skills in addition to language arts and math.

Vol. 34, Issue 36, Page 5

Published in Print: July 8, 2015, as Skills Gaps
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