Latino Education: Adequate Funding?
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright
There have been intentions of providing adequate funding
to adhere to the academic necessities of the education of
Latinos in the United States. Who can deny the good intentions
of those interested in making a positive contribution to the
education of Latinos? In the Obama administration’s proposed
English Learning Education Program, an $800 million budget
has been included in the president’s proposal for fiscal 2011
(Rosemary Salomone’s “Does NCLB Promote Monolingualism?).
There is no doubt that adequate funding is necessary, but
how about “specifics” on how English Language Learners will
benefit from the proposal.
Statistics speak for themselves, and the National Center for
Education Statistics posted very shrewd information on the
present status of Latino education. America has always placed
a strong value on higher education, but Latinos are being
stripped of that opportunity by not scoring adequately in
the SAT’s. An overview on “SAT score averages of college-bound
seniors, by race/ethnicity: in selected years, 1986-87 through
2006-07” will show that Hispanic students are scoring below
500 in reading, math and writing. As a matter of fact, there
has been very little progress, if any, during the last 22
years in these statistics.
During the eight years of the Bush administration, there were
claims of how the No Child Left Behind Act encouraged and
facilitated the progress of the education of Latinos, but
an up and closer look at these statistics topple those claims.
If Latino teens are scoring below average in the SAT's, then
it makes it extremely difficult for them to receive a higher
education. The incoming administration has yet to reveal how
and when it will specifically tackle the academic necessities
of the largest and most diversified minority of the nation.
In another table posted in the National Center for Education
Statistics, in the "Percentage distribution of adults
ages 25 and over, by highest level of educational attainment
and race/ethnicity: 2007", Latinos have the highest percentage
in the "Less than high school completion" category.
The 39.7 percent is staggering and alarming at the same time.
For years, the world-wide secret concerning the Latino high
school dropout rate is that it is nearly an incomprehensible
50%. While the claims of educational improvement have been
made, the reality of the education of Latinos continues to
look discouraging. Who is responsible for the educational
fallout of our children? Adequate funding without a specific
vision may lead to academic improvisation, to say the least.
While the economy has taken the forefront of all the issues
discussed today, we continue to ignore the fact that the largest
minority in America is not only at an economic disadvantage,
but because it is less educated; it is in high risk of becoming
a “crisis within a crisis,” Although the Obama administration
is receiving high marks for its “stimulus packages” for the
America Recovery Act, there is no specific mention on how
the Department of Education plans to help the millions of
Latino children obtain the quality education that they deserve.
After a year and five months of having received the support
of the Latino people in the past historic election, there
is no specific strategy on how the Obama administration plans
to undertake these and other educational dilemmas faced by
The Obama administration must define its vision on how to
improve the educational quality of Latino children. There
will be no surprises when the 2010 United States Census numbers
are announced: Latinos will continue to multiply in numbers
much like the Israelites grew in their 430 years of captivity
in Egypt. But the only way they will advance through the desert
is if their unattended academic needs are met. There are millions
of Latino educators working towards the fulfillment of the
Latino vision, but it will take a macro Presidential effort
to unite and work with those like Jaime Escalante, who dedicated
their lives to improve the quality of education of the Latino
nation in the United States. This is the time!