NCLR Report Finds Latino Students are “Missing Out”

by Latoya Peterson

The National Council of La Raza has released a new report called “Missing Out: Latino Students in America’s Schools.”

The intro explains:

The rapid growth of the Latino student population has not been reflected in a corresponding improvement in their educational outcomes. The collection of statistics that follows suggests that Latino students are missing out on many educational opportunities and are not being effectively served by the current U.S. education system. One of the country’s most significant challenges in the coming years will be to improve the American educational system such that it adequately meets the needs of all children.

Moreover, a particularly urgent task is to ensure that our nation’s public schools and universities improve their capacity to adequately serve Latino students and ELLs [English language learners], given that this population will constitute nearly one-third (30%) of our total adult population by 2050. These statistics provide a summary of the key data on Latino students, from prekindergarten through postsecondary school. Understanding who these students are is critical to creating policies and programs that effectively address their unique position in America’s schools.

Some findings from the study:

  • There is a greater likelihood that White and Black three- to five-year-olds will be enrolled in center-based preschool education than their Hispanic counterparts, especially those living in poverty. During the 2005–2006 school year, 60% of White children and 62% of Black children participated in such programs, while only 50% of Hispanic children participated (see Figure 3). Furthermore, among Hispanic children ages three to five living in poverty, fewer than 36% were enrolled in early childhood care and education programs. In contrast, 45% of White and 65% of Black children of the same age group living below the federal poverty threshold* were enrolled in these programs.
  • Hispanics and Blacks are significantly less likely to complete high school than their White peers. Although the 2005 high school graduation rate for White students was 78%, only 58% of Hispanic students and 55% of Black students who entered ninth grade completed the twelfth grade and graduated with a regular high school diploma.
  • Latino and Black students are more likely to attend schools that serve a large concentration of low-income students. Among elementary and secondary school students during the 2005–2006 school year, 34% of Hispanic and 32% of Black students were enrolled in schools with the highest measure of poverty, compared to 4% of White and 10% of Asian/Pacific Islander students. Moreover, there is a strong relationship between poor and minority student populations. Hispanic (46%) and Black (44%) students composed the vast majority of students attending school in high-poverty urban areas, while fewer than 10% of their White peers attended such schools (see Figure 5*).
  • Hispanics and Blacks constitute only a small proportion of undergraduate students in the U.S. Latinos and Blacks compose a large percentage of the college-age population, at 17.4% and 14.1%, respectively. However, only 10.8% of all 2005 undergraduate students were Hispanic and only 12.7% were Black, while 65.7% of undergraduates were White (see Figure 6).

Go here to download the full report.