The presidential campaign and Latino education
Now that Governor Mitt Romney has essentially locked up the GOP nomination, a new presidential campaign season has begun. This election year, Latinos will be a major political target for both candidates. Republican and Democrats will tout the importance of Latinos, highlight values that appeal to this group, explain how their economic plans will help to generate jobs and even touch on the sensitive immigration issue. However, Latino education is rarely a campaign issue and neither party would have much to show in terms of concrete results in this area.
The achievement gap between Hispanics and other ethnic groups in standardized testing and overall education is significant. The U.S. Department of Education found that the average SAT scores of Latinos lag behind the U.S. average by 100 points. Additionally, 13.9 percent of the Latino population holds a bachelor’s degree, whereas 29.9 percent of the total U.S. population does.
The reasons for this are related not only to lackluster education policies, but also to other factors such as poverty, language skills and school attendance. The 2010 Census found that 35 percent of Latinos were living in poverty, compared to 12.4 percent of Caucasians; Latinos typically attend schools where a higher percentage of students speak English as a second language, making instruction more cumbersome. In addition, Latinos drop out of high school at a 17.6 percent rate, compared to the 8.1 percent rate of the entire U.S. population.
Read the full story at The Huffington Post