How can research evidence enrich the civic debate over the early education of Latino children? The national debate over immigration and the fate of poor Latino families is long on ideology and short on evidence. A research dissemination effort by the Institute of Human Development and the Education Writers Association in D.C. distills new empirical findings for journalists and policy thinkers. Research briefs and steady reporting by two popular writers appear at: National Education Writers Association (click on New Journalism on Latino Children)
Bruce Fuller's work at Harvard and Berkeley over the past two decades has examined the benefits of various child care and preschool settings on children's early development and learning. A sociologist, Prof. Fuller studies how these small-scale organizations operate within contested ideals and cultural beliefs over how to best raise young children and the role of formal organizations on their growth. Prof. Fuller's work on the intersection of home practices and socialization agendas inside formal organizations often centers on the upbringing, cognitive growth, and school achievement of Latino children.
Research papers are available on these interwoven topics:
How do Latino parents raise and socialize their young children? How does this advantage their children or impede youngsters as they start school. One collection of papers on this topic, co-edited with Prof. Cynthia GarcÌa Coll, appears in Developmental Psychology. Additional reports stem from the Proyecto Educando NiÒos, a longitudinal qualitative study conducted, with Eugene Garcia, in the homes of 24 diverse Mexican-American families.
A 17-minute video of three Mexican-American mothers exploring home practices and socialization activities inside families and neighborhoods - is also available. How well does America's early education 'system' really work? Which young children benefit from the patchwork quilt of child care options? Who's left out? What steps should practitioners, advocates, and policy makers take to widen access and lift preschool quality? Which policies for children are proving most effective in lifting quality and child development? These issues and state-level cases, are explored in Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle over Early Education with Margaret Bridges and Seeta Pai. Does preschool advance the early learning and social development of children from poor families? We contribute to this rich literature with our tracking study of mothers and young children participating in the nation's welfare-to-work experiment. Several papers have been published with Margaret Bridges, Sharon Lynn Kagan, and Susanna Loeb.
Which families are more likely to select quality preschool for their young children? (Prof. Fuller has examined this issue, often focusing on Latino parents and their young children, in series of papers with Susan Holloway, Judith Singer, and Xiaoyan Liang.)