Sunday, May 19, 2024

Report Says Massachusetts Failing Latino Students

A newly released report says the wide achievement gap between Latino students and their peers in Massachusetts is partly the state’s fault.

Latino students miss an average of nearly three weeks of school a year and had a graduation rate of 60 percent in 2009 compared to 82 percent statewide said the report by UMass-Boston’s Mauricio Gaston Institute , “The State of Latinos and Education in Massachusetts: 2010.”

“This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night,” Andrew Flannery Aguilar, the institute’s education policy and research fellow and one of the report’s authors, said. “How are you supposed to succeed if you’re not in class?”

In the Springfield school district the Latino absence rate is as high as 17 days a year, much higher than the statewide average rate for white students, which is about 9 days.

The report says that Massachusetts is failing to properly educate its Latino students, who make up 15 percent of the total student body in the state.

In order to close the gap, the state and local education officials need to consider the needs of Latino students in any proposed education reforms, the report stated.  Other findings included the out-of-school suspension rate for Latino students was 11 percent compared to 4 percent of white students.

Considering that Massachusetts has one of the highest performing K-12 education programs in the country, the findings are very troubling for Latinos who are the state’s fasting growing segment of the student population.

“The gaps are striking,” Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said. “This is horrible.”

Pointing out some good news, Chester says the proficiency of Latino students is up in some Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) categories up from low performances just a few years ago.

Boston Herald