Why Black and Latino Children May Need Basic Algebra Instruction in Preschool!!
. . . National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed in 2011 that black and Hispanic students trailed their white peers in math by about two grade levels.
Minorities Trail Whites by Two Grade Levels
Second, why do prominent early childhood math experts believe Algebra should be taught to all preschool children? It’s because they believe preliterate children gain a deeper understanding of arithmetic through Algebra. As reported online in The Atlantic’s “5-Year-Olds Can Learn Calculus,” Dr. Maria Droujkova believes Algebra - rather than arithmetic - may be a better way to introduce children to math. Droujkova and a growing number of early childhood education experts claim that preschool Algebra instruction will help prepare children to excel in high-level mathematics courses, which
1) are required to secure high-paying science and technology jobs and
2) teach students the type of mathematics needed to solve the world’s growing agricultural, energy, transportation, pollution, and human health-related problems.
Dr. Doujkova’s perspective will likely resonate with the 86 percent of Latino parents and 79 percent of black parents with children under 18 who said in a Pew Research Center survey that a 4-year college degree is important for their children’s future economic success. The survey also found that only 67 percent of white parents placed the same value on a university degree.
Blacks and Hispanics Place High Value on 4-Year-Degrees for Their Children
Third, has stereotype threat been proven to be an independent cause of the black-white academic achievement gap? Yes! However, though black and Latino children become aware of racial biases against them after kindergarten, negative racial stereotypes have a greater negative impact on black childrens’ academic progress. Racial Stereotypes Suppress Academic Progress
For black boys, racial stereotypes directed at them are particularly alarming. A recent study suggests that people are more likely to misidentify a toy as a gun after viewing black faces versus white ones, even when they showed 5-year-old children.
New Study Shows People Link 5-Year-Old Black Boys to Guns
Answers to the above three questions not only support the position that preschool children should learn Algebra, but also that African-American children will particularly benefit from learning it before they turn 6 years old. The National Association for the Education of Young Children and Harvard Education Letter have presented arguments by early childhood educators regarding why very young children should become familiar with algebraic tools. Please see:
Never Too Early to Introduce Children to Algebra and Algebra Instruction Benefits Very Young Children
Another reason black children should receive Algebra instruction before they enter the first grade, is that 1998 data from the NCES shows that the black-white test score gap does not exist for incoming kindergartners after accounting for a small set of socioeconomic factors.
No Black-White Test Gap for Kindergarteners