By Jessica La Rocheleau | ESPN Staff WriterKindergarden has a reputation for making kids feel safe.
But according to a new study from the Department of Education, that reputation has been damaged by the high number of students in public school who have struggled to read.
According to the study, the number of children who say they have trouble reading in public is about the same as the number who say it was just fine.
But students who are poor, Hispanic or black are particularly vulnerable to reading problems.
And even those who have a hard time reading in the classroom are less likely to graduate from high school if they struggle to read in the public school setting.
“We were really surprised by the findings,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rocha, a child development expert with the Department, who co-authored the report with Dr. Paula M. Fortuna, the chair of the School of Education at Ohio State University.
The survey was conducted by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which investigates school discipline and discrimination.
The survey was done in kindergarten through fourth grade and included responses from about 1,100 students in the Ohio system.
The number of poor students who said they struggled to understand sentences is about twice as high as the same number of black students who reported difficulty, the study found.
And the percentage of students who were poor and Hispanic was roughly the same.
The report was based on the responses of about 1 in 5 students who say their teacher or principal is too busy to give them a written or spoken explanation for problems in reading, a situation that could lead to problems in school.
About 40 percent of the students said their teacher did not give them the instruction needed to understand the situation, according to the survey.
More than two-thirds of the poor students said they did not have a way to talk to their teacher to ask about their problems.
They also had trouble getting feedback on their progress.
A small percentage of poor children said their parents were often not aware of their reading problems or the need for remedial reading instruction.
About 15 percent of students said parents were not aware that they had a reading problem.
And nearly a third of students reported that their teachers did not tell them about the need to learn reading.
Many parents were concerned about the effects of reading difficulties on their children.
More than a third said their children felt pressured to improve their reading skills, and about a third reported that the teacher or parent did not teach them about reading problems until they were in middle school.
“Parents are concerned about whether or not their children are reading at an early age,” said Fortunas.
“What’s happening is that our kids are getting pushed to read at a young age.”
More:Read more on the report.
The study also found that children with low socioeconomic status (SES) are less apt to succeed academically than those who are high SES.
This is a key difference that could potentially help teachers better help disadvantaged students.
More: Read the report