The Potential and Promise of Latino Students by Patricia Gandara

The Potential and Promise of Latino Students by Patricia Gandara (2017) shows the inequality that minority populations in the United States face.  The article and the statistics provided show the country’s lack of tolerance to minority groups such as the Latino groups. Latinos comprise the USA’s largest minority group, accounting for over 17.6% of the total population. Despite their numbers, the group faces political opposition and social opposition in the country. Latinos contribute to a large group of children in the educational system. However, these children’s benefits as assets in the country are overlooked, and the political arena focuses more on the related challenges associated with the group.

The data shows that most Latinos in the United States are in poverty and have poor living conditions. It does not support their growth or development within the country, despite many of them being born into the country’s citizenship.  In some states, the Latino child population in schools is more than half showing how the population has grown since the 1980s. The statistics show the social inequality in the United States society. Latino children are citizens of the country and often lack the required amenities to achieve their American dream. A report by the Joint Economic Committee (2015) shows that by 2060, there will be one Latino in every four people living in the United States. The economy does not favor the group despite the trillions of dollars they contribute to economic activities. The wage disparity between Latino and white women is significant. The latter earns 54 cents an hour for every one dollar the former makes. The Latino population is also 1.7 times more likely to live in poverty as compared to white households. Gandara (2017) also shows in her article that most Latino does not make it to four-year college programs, making them less attractive to job markets within the economy.

Implications of Data

The data shows the barriers that the Latino students have at the schools and the classroom level. The current number of Latino students per class is on the rise compared to a few years ago when there were hardly any Latino students for each class. The students are, however, faced with great educational barriers, especially when it comes to language. Gandara (2017) acknowledges the fact that Latino children lag when it comes to education. She states that the children are raised in Spanish speaking neighborhoods, whereas the US educational system is English based. Latino children are also not likely to join pre-school, which is an avenue to develop their English language speaking skills. Mendez et al. (2018) research shows how the ‘minority threat’ manifests in American schools. According to the researchers, the schools’ composition affects the policies and punitive measures that the school takes.  The Latino student population is associated with the use of specific types of discipline policies in schools showing how ethnic disparities affect the population.  Santos et al. (2018) also show through their research how Latino males are more likely to drop out of school as compared to those from any other minority group. The lack of support for Latino students leads to their achievements in relation to academic metrics.

What We Know Works

Several options could help close the ‘Latino achievement gap,’ as stated by Gandara in her article. I agree that the minority populations in the United States are financially disadvantaged as the whites in the country. Poverty is the main problem that leads to never-ending disparities. Despite the lack of power to eradicate poverty, the government has identified other ways to help such populations overcome certain issues. Social and medical services help close the achievement gap, but the government needs to offer full support in such initiatives. Billions of dollars are wasted on the legislature about stopping immigration, while little finances are set aside to reduce the disparity between communities in the country. Preschool works not only for Latino children but for every child as it acts as the first basis of encouraging their creative thinking and interactions with society. Latino children are exposed to the English language in pre-school. The government should support and educate Latino parents on the importance of pre-school studies.

Effective desegregation in the educational system could also work miracles towards closing the ‘Latino achievement gap.’ Segregated schools in the country deny children from minority communities in the country to attain quality education. The desegregation, however, should be viewed critically and intervened by the use of a strategic plan. The rationale is that the increasing racial and ethnic disparities in the country act as a motivation towards school segregation. The country’s changing population makeup also encourages such segregation as ethnic groups tend to settle within similar neighborhoods and among people with cultures similar to their own.

Conclusion

The Latino population in the United States is changing and growing rapidly. The local, regional, state and federal governments should consider the population is one of the driving forces to the American economy. However, the population is faced with a lot of disparities and inequalities when it comes to education. There are various solutions that the government could thus employ to reduce the achievement gap. The government should set policies that encourage universal pre-school, which would help provide a strong academic foundation to the minority populations such as the Latino.  There should also be a great funding for social and medical initiatives in Latino communities to help the children break through the poverty barrier towards leveraging education benefits.

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