In the last week, the Washington Post had a fascinating series of articles about the struggles, setbacks and triumphs of Latino and other Hispanic immigrants in the United States. Today’s article focuses on the ways in which programs like GEAR UP in high schools have raised the sights for Hispanic students who might have previously dropped out of school or not considered college. The series should be on the “required reading” list for faculty and staff over the holidays.
Today’s “On Success” blogs in the Washington Post online also address the issue of Latino teens and educational challenges.
An earlier article in the series took a look at the difficult challenges of teen pregnancy among young Latina women. Sadly, this article evoked more than 350 comments, most of which revealed the American pathology of racism, classism and anti-immigration fervor. A few of the comments decried the article for reinforcing negative stereotypes. Very few of the comments were reflective enough to ask how American society can change the circumstances in which these children find themselves.
The Washington Post articles coincide with the release of a study by the Pew Hispanic Center that provides good news and disturbing news for the Hispanic community in the United States. Two-thirds of Hispanics aged 16-25 (the cohort profiled in this study) were born in the United States and are citizens, but a substantial number are children of parents who are undocumented, producing various kinds of challenges for their families. 26% of Hispanic young women are mothers by age 19, compared to 22% for African Americans, 11% for Whites, and 4% for Asians. 17% of young Hispanics drop out of high school, compared to 9% , 6% and 4% rates for Blacks, Whites and Asians respectively. While optimistic about the future and generally satisfied with their lives, this cohort is also more likely to join gangs or be affected by violence.
The Pew study and Post articles provide important information for the Trinity community to contemplate. I urge everyone to take the time to read them.
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See my thoughts “On success” at the Washington Post online
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