Why the nation’s future is riding on Latino students’ success
Everywhere you look this election season, campaigns are wooing the Hispanic vote. Rising stars such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro played prominent roles at this summer’s national political conventions. Both presidential candidates gave extended interviews to Univision in recent weeks, and both have made frequent visits to swing states such as Florida, Colorado and Nevada ― states with large Latino populations.
The reason for this political push is obvious: The rapid growth of the Latino population has made this group a highly coveted voting bloc. A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies concludes that Latino voters represent nearly 9 percent of the 2012 voting electorate, up 1.5 percentage points since 2008. That’s a lot of political clout — enough to determine the election’s outcome, some experts say.
But let’s not be shortsighted. The fact is, the election isn’t merely about the political clout of Latinos. As the largest and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, Hispanics represent this nation’s very future. And right now, we’re simply not doing enough to secure that future … because too few Latinos are getting the education they need to succeed.
Latinos represent the latest in a long line of immigrant groups, from Irish and Italians in the late 19th and early 20th century to the more recent waves of immigrants from Asia, who are making their mark on American society. The majority are native born, and the talent that they bring to the American workforce is wide — from accomplished professionals who are doctors, lawyers and engineers to service workers and laborers, and everything in between.
Yet as a group, far too few Latinos are educated to meet the nation’s burgeoning needs for talent. According to the 2010 Census, just 19 percent of Latinos between 25 and 64 years old had at least a two-year college degree. For whites, the figure is 43 percent. That gap is shockingly huge.
Read more at the Huffington Post