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The purpose of education goes far beyond the attainment of knowledge.  Education in its truest sense equips us to form intelligent opinions and communicate them to others in a respectful manner.  Education opens the door to creativity and critical thinking: it enables and empowers us to become productive citizens that can effect positive change within us and in the world beyond us.



Second and third generation Latinos are hopeful about their upward mobility.  Their parents are equally optimistic; approximately 75 percent of them believe their children will achieve greater financial success than they themselves.  However, it is not enough to be optimistic about the future or have high aspirations without action. Equality and fairness can only be accomplished through monumental and sustained commitment to higher learning and active participation in the social and political arenas.

According to statistics compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center in December 2009, Latinos are both the largest and youngest ethnic group residing in the United States. One-out-of-five school children and one-out-of-four newborns are Latinos.  This is the first time in U.S. history that an ethnic group of this size has made up so large a share of its youth.  The attitudes, values, social behavior, family involvement, economic status, education, etc., are all factors that play an important role in determining the direction and ultimate outcome of Latino youth in today’s society. 


The decisions and life choices that such a vast number of young people make as they grow into adulthood will impact the type of society the United States will become in the 21st century."

"Although the statistics quoted in the preceding pages show a dramatic increase in the number of Latinos enrolled in college during the latter half of the 20th century, there is still ample room for improvement.

"Historically, Mexican-Americans (the largest Latino population in the Southwest) have suffered racial prejudice throughout the region including segregation from theaters, swimming pools, restrooms, drinking fountains and public schools.


Most schools that permitted integration had a strict rule that prohibited the students from speaking Spanish on school grounds. Students who failed to comply were reprimanded or punished severely.  In addition, they were frequently assigned to classes for low achievers, obligated to repeat grades and sometimes categorized as mentally deficient due to their limited English-speaking ability or other cultural differences. 


The introduction of bilingual education in public schools during the late 1960’s was a major turning point.  Since its inception, politicians and educators have gone back and forth, not quite sure what to do about the bilingual/English-only issue."

Latinos And Education

"Nearly nine-in-ten (89%) Latino young adults ages 16 to 25 say that a college education is important for success in life, yet only about half that number (48%) say that they themselves plan to get a college degree, according to a new national survey of 2,012 Latinos ages 16 and older by the Pew Hispanic Center conducted from Aug. 5 to Sept. 16, 2009. 


The biggest reason for the gap between the high value Latinos place on education and their more modest aspirations to finish college appears to come from financial pressure to support a family, the survey finds.


Nearly three-quarters (74%) of all 16 to 25-year-old survey respondents who cut their education short during or right after high school say they did so because they had to support their family. Other reasons include poor English skills (cited by about half of respondents

who cut short their education), a dislike of school and a feeling that they don't need more education for the careers they want (each cited by about four-in-ten respondents who cut their education short).


Latino schooling in the U.S. has long been characterized by high dropout rates and low college completion rates. Both problems have moderated over time, but a persistent educational attainment gap remains between Hispanics and whites.


When asked why Latinos on average do not do as well as other students in school, more respondents in the Pew Hispanic Center survey blame poor parenting and poor English skills than blame poor teachers. The explanation that Latino students don't work as hard as other students is cited by the fewest survey respondents; fewer than four-in-ten (38%) see that as a major reason for the achievement gap."

Latinos and Education:

Explaining the Attainment Gap


By Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center


This report was prepared for the Latino Children, Families, & Schooling National Conference sponsored jointly by the Education Writers Association, the Pew Hispanic Center & the National Panel on Latino Children & Schooling (2009).

Attainment Gap

Current and Future

The American Southwest—

A colorful and culturally rich tapestry

woven with the various dialects, customs, cultures and architecture

of the people who have dwelt in it for thousands of years.

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