East Brunswick is a school district with an approximate population of about 8,300 students in K-12 grades. The reputation of the district for excellence in academics, arts, and athletics is based on its comprehensive curriculum provision, talented students, staff and faculty, and diverse extracurricular activities. On such standardized tests as Scholastic Aptitude Test, students have always demonstrated consistent higher scores as compared to the state and national averages. For instance, the East Brunswick High School senior's average scores in 2002 were 546 and 590 on the verbal SAT and math test respectively. Furthermore, students have consistently registered high ratings in national, regional as well as state competitions in different areas such as foreign languages, music, visual arts, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
Every East Brunswick school has a media center furnished with electronic and print materials that facilitate the curriculum. Moreover, there are multimedia stations in all media centers with the capability to broadcast in the entire school and wide range of periodicals, fiction, and nonfiction collections that are suitable for the school's grade levels. Students from grades three up to twelve are expected to do English, science, media, and social studies-related researches. East Brunswick also boasts of advanced technological resources, printed materials, and books that are significant for their research studies. Besides, students are always motivated to read for pleasure.
Each of the East Brunswick's elementary schools has a computer laboratory next to the media center. Students come to these labs to be taught such basics as keyboarding, how to use different software types and to access information from various print and technological sources like such as the Internet. As they progress higher in their education, the students keep on building on these skills. Much emphasis is accorded to technology as a learning tool in all subject areas. Indeed, all the instructional processes at East Brunswick are supported by technology.
From this background statement, it is evident that East Brunswick has an incredible learning experience program. However, East Brunswick is still affected by low student enrollments and increased school dropouts especially among the minority. This study will access the efficacy of this learning experience program. Its primary objective is to establish ethnicity and racial differences affect enrollment among young children in preschools.
Brief Literature Review
Preschool remains a powerful tool used to reduce the intergenerational ethnic and racial inequality. Many scholars are in consensus that boosting preschool enrollment of children from minority ethnic and racial groups in the United States is both a developmentally appropriate and cost-effective way of reducing socioeconomic gaps that hinder attainment of education among these groups (Crosnoe, Purtell, Davis-Kean, Ansari, & Benner, 2016). According to Lieber, et al., (2009), early childhood education plays a very significant role towards the development of the brain of the learner. The education received by children during their initial learning experiences forms the basis of their learning and development potential as well as future growth.
To cultivate creative, innovative, and compassionate young minds, Crosnoe et al. (2016) argues that a child should be taken through a learning experience that is enriched with appropriate curriculum programs and tools during his or her six critical early development stages. The programs must be designed to assist the early learners to maximize their physical, social, and cognitive potentials. Indeed, the method of learning used on children should be just as significant as what they are taught. Therefore, a good learning experience program should be designed to inspire the leaner to love the art. This implies that lessons should be carried out in a hands-on manner in a way that ensures that educational experiences are more fun-like. Positive engagements can be achieved through daily lessons that are carried throughout the day. Examples include hands-on technology, phonics, foreign language, manners and etiquette, sign language, and philanthropy. Besides, such enrichment programs like soccer, music, yoga, dance, and drama are equally as important (Lieber, et al., 2009).
However, despite the critical roles played by early childhood education, not all children in East Brunswick gets to enjoy such benefits equally. There are marked disparities along ethnic orientations within the district. As a result, the aspect of classroom diversity is rarely achieved in East Brunswick (Magnuson & Waldfogel, 2005). Magnuson & Waldfogel (2005) continue to argue that the ethnic and socioeconomic composition of children in a classroom affect their academic performances right from Kindergarten right through to their twelfth grade. Instead, schools that are more ethnically and socially diverse promoter of more significant achievement among students in addition to other promotes throughout their primary and high school years of study (Magnuson & Waldfogel, 2005).
Over the last few decades, there has been an increased enrollment in pre-school among children aged between three and four years from all ethnic and racial groups. Nonetheless, there is still evidence of ethnic and racial disparities in enrollment. From the late 1960s up to the early 1980s, black children were more likely to attend preschool as compared to their white counterparts. This trend changed during the mid-1980s when enrollment of black children stagnated while that of whites increased. From mid-1990s, the trends of enrollment for the black children seemed to regain its track in terms of enrollment advantage. Additionally, the early school enrollment rate for pre-school among Hispanic children have been consistently on the low. Statistics from the Department of Education suggests that only 23% of Hispanic children were in pre-school in the year 2000. This is compared to the 43% white kids and 49% black kids (Magnuson & Waldfogel, 2005).
This study involves the evaluation of the learning experience program among children of different ethnic and racial groups in East Brunswick. The study took place in 405 Route 18 South East Brunswick, NJ 08818. The mode of evaluation was based on language learning of children from different ethnicities and races within East Brunswick.
The study relied on the empirical data taken from 760 children between the ages of three to four and drawn from 200 classrooms across the East Brunswick. The children were in their preschools and were engaged in learning experience programs designed for their various schools. Of the 200 selected classrooms, 150 classrooms compromised of a mixture of learners from different ethnic and racial backgrounds. The remaining 50 classrooms were either white only, black only or Hispanic only classrooms. They were used as control experiment.
Data Collection Techniques and Instruments
A desktop study was used to identify 20 schools within East Brunswick that met the criteria of the study. Once the schools were identified, the researcher liaised with the teachers to collaborate in providing vital information regarding the language acquisition skills progression among the young leaners. The researcher observed the attendance records of leaners in both setups, assessed their learning concentration in class, and finally took note of their end-term academic scores in language learning from their report books.
Data analysis was conducted using the Sofa software. Sofa was used to run frequencies and crosstabulation. The results were presented using the hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) for two level model specifications. The primary objective was to explore the level in which the enrollment of children in preschools that are ethnically or racially diverse impacts on their language learning outcomes.
There were two measures of outcomes. These included the expressive language skills and the receptive language skills, which were both measured on their end-term examination assessments. Interpretation of coefficients as estimates of language learning in children was achieved through the use of analysis of covariance where the mid-term scores were used as covariance.
Limitations of the Study
This learning experience program evaluation had many limitations. Although the sample is sizeable and thus representative, it cannot be construed to give the true picture of exactly what takes place. There are hardly any school with equal number of black, white and Hispanic children populations.
The study period of a whole term, which runs up to four months is too long. During this period, some children have changed schools. This evaluation would only be effective if the enrollment pattern of a child consistent with the aforementioned school.
The descriptive results followed an analysis of the race and ethnicity of the family of the children and their language skills level in their preschool. It was found that the distribution of children in schools differed based on their ethnic and racial compositions as well as average family income. From the results, it is indicative that more than one half of the children involved in the study were whites. 20% are blacks while 25% are Hispanics. Children from Asian backgrounds were very few. 59% of the sample represent children from groups classified as ethnic minorities. This is a very huge percentage as compared to that of the general population. In the general public 50% of the population of children under five years of age are drawn from ethnic and racial minorities. Nonetheless, the results showed a racial and economic of children contrary to what is found in public preschools.
The results also show that there are significant disparities among preschool year children in language skills when ethnically or racially grouped. The assessment on the receptive language skills showed that black children's average scores was almost a complete standard deviation, which was lower than the white children's average score. The Hispanic children's skill disparity was substantial but somehow remained less. On the other hand, the assessment on expressive language showed an average score for black children that nearly reached two-thirds of the standard deviation that was lower than the white children's average score. Meanwhile, the skill disparity for Hispanic children was 75% of the standard deviation. These results are a clear manifestation that there exist wide gaps in language skills among children of different ethnic and racial backgrounds in preschools.
Further descriptive analysis points to the varying difference levels among ethnic and racial minority children concentration across different classrooms. The results summarized the minority children groups into high, medium and low. High minority children group was represented by 71-100% while medium-minority and low-minority were represented by 21-100% and 0-20% respectively. Slightly more than 50% of the children attended classrooms that were categorized as exclusive or predominant minority. Close to a third were enrolled in classrooms classified as racially or ethnically diverse while almost 25% attended exclusively or predominantly white classrooms. 94.9% of children from high-minority classrooms were the minority against the 42.8% from classrooms that were racially diverse. Meanwhile 7.7% of children from low-minority classrooms were the minorities. Interestingly, classrooms of high-minority, low-minority and r...
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