- A 2017 study from nonprofit research organization Child Trends titled, "Making Math Count More for Young Latino Children," found that Latino students tend to begin kindergarten three months behind their white peers on math.
- The study suggests that poverty is a root cause, District Administration reports, adding that the inclusion of math in pre-K programs should be taken into consideration to prevent the gap from growing as the nation's diversity grows.
- Among the programs it says schools and districts should consider are the Building Blocks curriculum, the game-based Number Worlds and the self-regulation-driven Tools of the Mind.
Closing learning gaps has become a particular focus amid shifts in the workforce that especially necessitate more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills for high-paying jobs. It will only become all the more vital to the nation's economic future as more traditional labor, such as factory work, is automated.
People of color and women have both been traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. This is due largely to gaps created by socioeconomic disparities for the former and preconceived stereotypes of what a scientist or engineer is for the latter. The idea that a student isn't a "math person," for example, starts young and is based in faulty ideals. In many cases, the STEM gap offers another opportunity for higher ed to work with K-12 in closing gaps and connecting students with role models and mentors who look like them. This can begin as early as preschool with virtual or in-class visits from these professionals, who can share with students what they do and how they got there.