Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Recent Trends in Socioeconomic and Racial School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 2:10 PM
Merrick I (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sean F. Reardon and Ximena Portilla, Stanford University
In recent decades, academic achievement gaps between high- and low-income students in grades 3-12 have risen, while racial gaps have declined. It is unclear whether trends in school readiness have followed the same pattern. Rising income inequality, income segregation, and socioeconomic disparities in parental investments suggest that school readiness gaps may be rising. Conversely, narrowing disparities in pre-school enrollment and child health insurance coverage suggest they may be declining. Data from nationally-representative samples of kindergarteners (age 5-6) in 1998 (n=20,220), 2006 (n=6,600), and 2010 (n=16,980), are used to estimate trends in racial and economic school readiness gaps. These data show that readiness gaps narrowed modestly from 1998-2010, particularly between high- and low-income students and between white and Hispanic students.