Celebrating Latinos And Education

on Monday, Mar. 7th

There is an education crisis looming for Latinos, the nation’s most rapidly growing ethnic group. Last year, the Pew Hispanic Center released the report “Hispanics, High School Dropouts and the GED.” The report finds that 41% of Hispanic adults age 20 and older in the United States do not have a regular high school diploma, compared with 23% of black adults and 14% of white adults.

This means simply, that the fastest growing youth population faces the risk of also being the most uneducated, posing a problem not just for Latinos, but for the entire country.

The National Journal reports:

Today’s minority students will represent an increasing share of tomorrow’s workforce and thus pay more of the payroll taxes that will be required to fund Social Security and Medicare benefits for the mostly white Baby Boomers. Many analysts warn that if the U.S. doesn’t improve educational performance among African-American and Hispanic children, who now lag badly behind whites in both high school and college graduation rates, the nation will have difficulty producing enough high-paying jobs to generate the tax revenue to maintain a robust retirement safety net.

When media outlets report on the figures, the common, unspoken perception is that Latino students are lazy and unmotivated, or that their families don’t care about education. But to the contrary, Latino families have a strong sense of the promising role that education has for their children’s paths.

This print, which I just completed for The College Board, celebrates the great value that Latino families place on education. The young man on the left is recreating indigenous Inca bird icons as he imagines the many possibilities for his future. In the center, a mother teaches her daughter about Caribbean indigenous history. On the right, a high school student proudly graduates and is committed to social justice. The background demonstrates the various milestones in a young person’s education.

The print will be available at the annual College Board Conference, Prepárate!, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, this year. (details here)

This March 11th, I will be presenting alongside Edward James Olmos at a lunch plenary, “Mobilizing our Community: From Macro to Micro”.

Find out more about Favianna and James Olmos’ talk here.

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