History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)

1996

Hispanic Americans denied equal educational opportunity, says President's Advisory Commission

The President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans submits a report entitled "Our Nation on the Fault Line: Hispanic American Education. " The report stated that "the nature of the problem with the education of Hispanic Americans is rooted in a refusal to accept, to recognize and to value the central role of Hispanics in the past, present and future of this nation", and argued that "the education of Hispanic Americans is characterized by a history of neglect, oppression, and periods of wanton denial of opportunity" (p. 13).

The report showed evidence of the persistence of enormous gaps in the educational attainment of Hispanic American students and other American students, and related them to inadequate funding, lack of understanding of the importance of bilingualism, segregation of Latinos in 'resource poor schools' and lack of representation. For instance, the report found that, in spite of the fact that pre-school program constitute high predictors of educational achievement, less than 15% of all Hispanic Americans participated in these programs, whereas the figure for whites was 35%.

The study also reported that Hispanic Americans drop out from high school earlier and at a higher rate than other groups (28%, double the rate for blacks and three times the rate for whites). It was also found that approximately 37% of employed Hispanic Americans do not have a high school degree, compared to 13% of all workers, and their literacy levels have remained low compared to other groups. In higher education, most Hispanic Americans are enrolled in community colleges, but most of them are unable to transfer to four-year schools due to lack of information and counseling. The report predicted that a significant proportion of Hispanic children will continue to grow up in poor households, and argued that policies should acknowledge the relationship between low educational achievement and poverty.

DS


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