The Starting Line: Latina/o Children, Texas Schools, and National Debates on Early Education

Univ. of Texas. Dec. 2020. 208p. ISBN 9781477322383. $45. ED
Crosnoe (sociology, Univ. of Texas), aided by graduate students Bonazzo and Ramos, cogently explains his research on pre-K classrooms in Texas. He identifies the state as an important laboratory because of its demographic trend of increasing Latinx populations. Participation in pre-K education for low-income Spanish-speaking students will reduce educational inequality, and Crosnoe wants to understand the classroom characteristics that make it most effective. He lucidly outlines his research goals and the observation process that shape understanding of the interrelated elements of classroom excellence: emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support. The author notes that the need for English-language instruction complicates other educational goals and that classroom experiences can be enhanced by effective communication with families in the community. His conclusions are clearly linked to extensive classroom observation, academic research, and interviews with teachers in the nine schools he visited.
VERDICT Recommended to educators and general readers looking for understanding of the value of widespread pre-K education, what makes it work, and ways it needs to improve.
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