Thursday, September 24, 2020

New report: Latino education gains encouraging, countering myths and misconceptions

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A new report authored by Excelencia in Education, a top national education think-tank, reveals that new data on Latino education are encouraging, despite challenges, with signs of solid growth. The study, “The Condition of Latinos in Education: 2015 Factbook,” depicts a more accurate sketch of Latino students, with a special focus on achievement while dismissing common misconceptions about English proficiency and workforce participation.

“The conversation about Latinos and education is often very deficit-based, where we’re English language learners, we’re high school dropouts, and we’re illegal immigrants,” Deborah Santiago, Vice President at Excelencia in Education and co-author of the report, said. “While we still have to address those important issues in our country, the profile of Latinos is one of asset opportunities, growth, improvement and education potential.”

The study found that recent Latino high school grads boasted a higher rate of college enrollment than their white and African-American peers, bolstered by a huge majority of Latino parents saying they expect their child to pursue higher education. The report emphasized Latino student educational achievement along what they dubbed the “educational pipeline,” beginning from K-12 to higher education institutions and the workforce. These measures formed the baseline from which performance was evaluated over time.

Of course, the study represents a marker from which to improve and is by no means the end of the road. “When we look at the progress Latinos are making, we try to bring attention to those successes, not to negate there’s work to be done,” Santiago said. “I don’t negate we have to address ELL and English Language issues…but if the only action we take is around those, we are addressing a minority of Latinos, not the majority.”

Challenges surely remain, as Latinos are projected to make up almost 40 percent of the U.S. population under the age of 5 by the year 2050, and along with African Americans, are more likely to live in poverty than others. But, if this new study holds any bearing, steady gains forecast a brighter future.

NBC News Latino