San Antonio business officials, educators, residents, and government officials have invested in free preschool for thousands of low-income, mostly Latino children, PolicyLink reports.
Voters approved a one-eighth penny increase in sales tax to pay for four new full-day pre-kindergarten centers, workforce training for early childhood educators, and grants for schools to expand preschool programs.
The increase was championed by Mayor Julian Castro to help ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. San Antonio schools have one of the lowest spending rates per pupil in the country, along with high dropout rates and low college attainment, according to the report.
Business leaders also supported the initiative:
Business leaders also see the initiative as the foundation for building a workforce pipeline in a city with a growing knowledge-based economy and a need for more high-skilled workers.
“The business community took a long-term view of business success,” said Richard Perez, president and CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. “We have to make long-term investments to be prepared for the next economy.”
Research shows that even small investments in quality early education can yield large benefits later, including increased high school graduation rates, lower rates of incarceration, and higher lifelong incomes. Other programs show returns of over $10 in economic benefit for every $1 invested in early education.
It is not just the students themselves who benefit. Investments that enhance the capabilities of young people increase productivity broadly and stimulate business development, said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute. He believes that early childhood education is a better economic development strategy than conventional approaches, such as tax breaks for businesses.
“Everyone has a huge stake in making sure that a broad range of the population has as many capabilities as possible,” he said.
The U.S. Census Bureau this week released a 2010 Census brief on the nation’s Hispanic population, which shows the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million.
Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43%, or four times the nation’s 9.7% growth rate.
The Hispanic Population: 2010 brief looks at an important part of our nation’s changing ethnic diversity with a particular focus on Hispanic origin groups, such as Mexican, Dominican and Cuban.
About three-quarters of Hispanics in the United States reported as Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban origin in the 2010 Census. Mexican origin was the largest group, representing 63% of the total U.S. Hispanic population — up from 58% in 2000. This group increased by 54% and saw the largest numeric change (11.2 million), growing from 20.6 million in 2000 to 31.8 million in 2010. Mexicans accounted for about three-fourths of the 15.2 million increase in the total Hispanic population between 2000 and 2010.
New Census data also shows a growing racial/ethnic divide by age.
Nationally, 80% of seniors are white and only in a few counties are most seniors people of color. But the younger population looks vastly different: the majority of babies born in the last two years were nonwhite, and across the country—from our largest cities to suburbs, small towns, and rural areas—young Americans are increasingly people of color, according to PolicyLink.
Check out PolicyLink’s new animated map illustrating here on this stark racial and generational divide:
This decade, the majority of youths will be people of color. By 2042, the nation will be a majority people of color. From Southern California to rural Iowa, every corner of America is seeing these changes.
What does this interactive map (a still shown below) say about the future of America?
Angela Glover Blackwell (photo from the Equity Blog)
Many of us are familiar with the historic connection between civil rights and transportation, from Plessy vs. Ferguson in the 1890s to the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the 1960s, writes Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink, in a recent e-mail to PolicyLink followers.
Today, transportation remains a 21st century civil rights issue for minorities and low-income people.
For example, nearly 20% of African American households, 14% of Latino households, and 13% of Asian households lack access to automobiles, compared with nearly 5% of white households.
Also, nearly 60 percent of public transportation riders are people of color.
For decades, advocates all over have continued to push for much-needed reforms in America’s transportation policies that will help bridge this divide. This month, Glover Blackwell spoke with National Public Radio for three different programs dedicated to this important topic:
New federal planning grants will help 21 communities build “Promise Neighborhoods” – pipelines of social, educational, and health support that enable children to learn, grow, and succeed from birth through college.
Two Texas cities are among the awardees, including the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County – Partners for Community Change. The United Way, as lead agency, will build upon, integrate and blend the initiatives and investments of several partner groups with these skills: parent engagement, leadership and resiliency resources; professional development services among preschool and school staff; favorable policy changes and significant municipal investments in Eastside San Antonio redevelopment; a commitment to rethinking the way educational services are delivered and arrayed to promote improved student achievement; and significant investment in designing, building and managing redeveloped housing.
More than 330 communities applied for these grants.
The “I Promise” video campaign, from The Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink, features video vignettes of people’s personal commitment to ensuring that all children have the opportunities and supports to thrive, grow and succeed.
Watch the videos here or learn more from the video below: