The first article taken for review is titled ‘Why Hispanic Children Lag Behind’ (March 16, 2007). The article takes up a key issue facing educators in America – namely, creating a level playing field for pupils of different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The underperformance/under-education of Hispanic children is a concern, as they consistently lag behind non-Hispanic Whites in academic performance. In light of this disparity, the recommendation given by the National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics (www.ecehispanic.org) is quite salient. The organization encourages Hispanic parents to enroll their children in high quality education programs at the earliest stage possible so that their children can make quick progress and close the Hispanic-White achievement gap. The article goes on to cite the success of state-funded prekindergarten programs (which have helped Hispanic children toward school readiness) as proof of effectiveness of early intervention. In this regard, programs such as Head Start have great potential for impact. Sadly though, despite such great education opportunities available for Hispanic children, they are not properly being availed. This situation is brought about by a combination of factors, including – language barriers and lack of awareness on part of parents, the reduced number of slots allocated in locales inhabited by Hispanic Americans, etc.
The article was concisely written, with a good logical flow of points. It implores Hispanic parents to take a pro-active role in providing high quality education for their children, as a failure to do so will keep the community backward. While the article neatly captures the issue at hand and the remedial programs in place, it does not give suggestions for satisfactorily resolving the issue. In other words, there are no constructive suggestions on part of the author for overcoming parents’ inadequacies such as language barriers and lack of awareness. On the other hand, the issue of disproportionate number of slots in certain public-schools is something for the authorities to look into. Had the author articulated these concluding thoughts, the article would have been more comprehensive.
The second article in review is titled ‘What Boys and Girls Need’ (April 5, 2007). It acknowledges the negative effects of gender stereotyping in young boys and girls. Yet, studies have indicated that parents (and caregivers) are not adequately meeting the needs of boys and girls through their style of care-giving. Citing the work of researchers, whose work was published in Work & Family Life Newsletter (March 2007), Susan Gilbert makes the following key suggestions for parents.
Firstly, contrary to conventional parenting practices, boy children need as much (if not more) attention as girl children. Parents should not withhold love and affection for boys, for fear of making them effeminate. In the same vein, boys need to be talked to as much as girls. Regular one-on-one conversations have proven to stimulate the brain. Contrary to traditional beliefs boys need exercise of their fine motor skills alongside their gross-motor skill development. Just as boys need added .