Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Latino Education Crisis Rescuing the American Dream

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By: Patricia Gandara

The education achievement gap between Latinos — the nation's largest and fastest growing minority group — and most other students is enormous, and in many cases growing. In fact, Latinos in the United States have made almost no progress in college completion rates during the last three decades, according to Patricia Gándara in a new WestEd Policy Perspectives paper.

In The Latino Education Crisis: Rescuing the American Dream, Gándara, Co-Director of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, observes that, in 2008, Latinos were about half as likely as African Americans and a third as likely as Whites to obtain a college degree. Especially in states like California and Texas, where Latinos make up half of the public school students, this means a large segment of the population will be ill-equipped for the education-intensive careers of the 21st century.

Educational attainment is not the only problem these students face. Gándara notes that student achievement is highly correlated to household income and parental academic attainment — two other areas in which Latinos trail other groups.

In this paper, Gándara outlines a program of known policy interventions to help narrow the Latino education gap. The interventions Gándara lays out to address this crisis acknowledge the interconnectedness of homes, schools, and communities.

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