Why Are Latinos Falling Behind in Secondary Education Rates?
President Obama signed an executive order yesterday creating a commission that will focus on improving educational opportunities for Latino children, an extension of a program started by President George H.W. Bush to determine why Latino students were falling behind. McClatchy reporters contend the order was an attempt to convince Latino voters to support Democrats in the midterms, but the Obama administration said “it’s the right thing to do.” A new report from the American Council on Education, a lobbying group, claims Latinos continue to trail other groups in attaining college degrees.
Why do Latinos have lower rates of secondary education than other groups in the country? Experts cite a few reasons, from problems with immigration status and language barriers to economic hardships. But the problem also rests with public education: A large number of Latinos cannot attend college because they have not received a high school diploma.
High school drop-out rates are higher among Latinos than other groups, and are especially striking among Latinos born in other countries, according to a May study from the Pew Hispanic Center. About 40 percent of Latino adults above the age of 20 do not have a regular high school diploma, while 52 percent of foreign-born Latino adults did not complete high school. These rates are far lower among non-Latinos: 23 percent of black adults and 14 percent of white adults do not have a regular diploma. Only 10 percent of Latino high school drop-outs later receive a General Educational Development credential, or GED, according to the Pew Hispanic Center report.
Of course, it’s impossible to pinpoint why exactly this is true, but it means fewer opportunities for many Latino adults. The Wall Street Journal has a useful graph of rates of secondary education among different groups:
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