Page 46 - Latino Boom II

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l a t i n o b o o m I I
The Bureau of the Census predicts that by 2021, one in four stu-
dents in the U.S. will be Hispanic. In key states like Texas and Califor-
nia, already half of the school-age population is Latino, so the future is
already here. And the reality is this: as a country, we can not allow the
fastest growing ethnic group to also be the least educated because our
nation’s future partly depends on us. So let’s face the facts and work to
close the educational gap among Latinos and other minorities.
“The future of America is in this question,” said Stephen Klineberg
of Rice University in Houston, a sociologist who has studied the eco-
nomic and political implications of changing demographics, in an arti-
cle written by Ronald Brownstein for the
National Journal
. “Will the
Baby Boomers recognize that they have a responsibility and a personal
stake in ensuring that this next generation of largely Latino and Afri-
can American kids is prepared to succeed? This ethnic transformation
could be the greatest asset this country will have, with a young, multi-
lingual, well-educated workforce. Or it could tear us apart and become
a major liability.”
The irony is that both young Latinos and their parents believe that
education is very important for success in life. In fact, nine in ten (89
percent) Latinos believe that in order to get ahead in life these days, it
is necessary to get a college degree. That is 15 percent higher than the
general population (74 percent). However, in 2009, only 48 percent of
Latinos planned to go to college versus 60 percent of the general popu-
lation, according to a study published by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The good news is that more and more people in schools, government,
and business are aware of the educational gaps and are starting to work
on solutions to help Latino students and families overcome some very
real obstacles they face when trying to accomplish this part of their
American Dream.
According to Patricia Gándara, author of the article “The Latino
Education Crisis” published in
Educational Leadership
in February
2010, “from their first day of kindergarten to their last day of school,
Latinos, on average, perform far below most of their peers.” Among the
issues that Gándara identifies as hurting Latino academic achievement