Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Latinos and California Schools

 Jennifer Medina, a national correspondent based in Los Angeles.
Latinos make up the majority of students in California. And the state is widely regarded as being a bastion of Latino political power, with Latinos holding many of the top positions in Sacramento. And yet, a new report from The Education Trust-West shows a stark and persistent achievement gap between Latino and white students. In every county in the state the majority of Latino students are not proficient in math or English language arts. 
The report also found that California’s Latino students attend some of the country’s most segregated schools, lack access to early childhood education, are often pushed away from college-prep coursework in high school and are more likely to be required to take remedial classes in colleges and universities. 
“We continue to talk about Latinos in the education world as if they are a subgroup and a minority but they are absolutely the majority,” said Ryan Smith, executive director of The Education Trust-West. “So the question is what does that mean for our K-12 education system. I think of it like this: If we saw the type of challenges for white students that we see for Latino students, we know that the government and others would declare a state of emergency. Latinos have more political power than ever before, but students seem to be lagging behind in every indicator.” 
It would be tempting to assume that at least some of the gap is because of struggles to learn English, Mr. Smith said, but only one-third of Latino students in the state are considered English Language Learners. And the report points out that 95 percent of the state’s Latinos who are younger than 18 are native-born. 
“It challenges our belief that these students can’t achieve,” Mr. Smith said. “Given the numbers we have an economic and moral imperative to turn the corner.” 
California Online
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