Early Education, Poverty, and Parental Circumstances among Hispanic Children: Pointing Toward Needed Public Policies

  • Donald J. Hernandez
  • Jeffrey S. Napierala
Keywords: Early education, poverty


This article presents findings from two research projects concerning the educational achievement and well-being of Hispanic children. The first set of findings is from the first-ever study to calculate high school graduation rates for children with different levels of reading skill in third grade, by race-ethnicity and poverty experience. This research analyzes data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) and is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The second set of findings draws on indicators from the Foundation for Child Development’s Child Well-Being Index (CWI), which is the nation’s most comprehensive measure of the overall well-being of children. Results for these indicators presented here measure poverty, median family income, Prekindergarten enrollment, and NAEP fourth-grade reading test scores (for data sources, see Hernandez & Napierala, 2012). Additional indicators measure parents’ educational attainments and fluency in speaking English. Finally, policy and program initiatives are recommended to improve the educational achievement and outcomes of Hispanic and other children, and to increase the economic security and well-being of their families.