education | February 26, 2013

Invest In Pre-School: Marcelo Suarez-Orozco On Closing The Achievement Gap

"Quality preschool matters in the lives of low-income immigrant children," education speaker Marcelo Suarez-Orozco writes in the New York Times. In the Op-Ed (which he co-wrote with Rashmita Mistry) he explains that the achievement gap for the children of immigrants is evident as early as age three. He reports that many of these children rank below their white peers in various areas such as "vocabulary, letter recognition and early numeracy skills." Considering that these children are the fastest-growing child demographic in the country, the achievement gap poses a very real threat to the future of the nation.

That's why early-childhood education is so important. The authors argue that President Obama's insistence on promoting better teachers and more accessible quality programming for pre-Kindergarten students is an important step towards eliminating the achievement gap. It's not even as though massive overhauls are needed to make this happen, either. "We need not reinvent the wheel," the authors write. However, we do need to put more stock into the value of early education as "early experiences have a profound influence on children’s long-term educational, occupational and social outcomes, especially for those from low-income families." Not only is this beneficial to the children now, but it "is a smart investment in our shared future."

In his lectures—which he has given across the world—Suarez-Orozco expands on these points. He argues that our demographics are rapidly changing, and that our education system needs to change with it. As the Dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, he is well versed in issues surrounding immigration, diversity, globalization, and education. He can discuss these topics independently, as well as explore the way these topics overlap and impact each other. As America changes, Suarez-Orozco says we need to be both prepared for the implications of a diversifying population and be ready to alter our thinking to ensure that everyone in the county has the tools to succeed.

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morality | February 25, 2013