We have known for some time that Wisconsin’s gap between black and white students in graduation rates and fourth –grade testing are the largest in the nation. A new study, Kindergarten Readiness in Wisconsin, provides a first-time look at inequalities in school readiness among Wisconsin’s kindergarten students with a large sample size. Findings include:
- About 66% of African American children and 70% of Latino children enter kindergarten less prepared than the typical White child.
- Almost 75 percent of poor children enter kindergarten behind the typical, more economically advantaged child.
The study is based on student population data of Wisconsin’s public schools from 2014 to 2016. About 59,000 kindergarten students enroll in Wisconsin’s public schools each year.
The study provides strong evidence that there is significant inequity in the readiness of children arriving at kindergarten. And as we know from numerous studies, if children arrive at school behind, they stay behind. This study points to an opportunity gap for many young children, particularly those in poverty and those of color.