Kindergarten demographics

Of 3.5 million kindergartners in 2010-11, 25 percent came from families living below the poverty level, according to a demographic snapshot from a U.S. Education Department study.

Fifty-three percent were white, 24 percent were Hispanic, 13 percent were African-American, 4 percent were Asian, 4 percent were two or more races, 1 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, and less than 0.5 percent were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

. . . Eighty-four percent lived in homes where English is the primary language.

Economic, racial and ethnic achievement gaps are evident even at the start of kindergarten, researchers say. They’ll track a cohort of children through 2016, when they should be finishing fifth grade.

In a few years, kindergartners could be taking ACT’s “next generation” career and college readiness tests, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. The tests are supposed to help teachers identify students’ learning needs, not identify future doctors, lawyers, butchers and bakers.

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