Washington, DC-based think tank Excelencia in Education just released “The Condition of Latinos in Education: 2015 Factbook”, a report with some startling realities about the state of Latino education.
For instance, public schools are not flooded with Latino students who cannot speak English. In truth, only 18 percent of Latino students are classified as English Language Learners (ELLs). They are also more likely to enroll in post-secondary education than their white and African American classmates are.
“The conversation about Latinos and education is often very deficit-based, where we’re English language learners, we’re high school dropouts, and we’re illegal immigrants,” Deborah Santiago, vice president at Excelencia in Education and author of a new report, told NBC News. “While we still have to address those important issues in our country, the profile of Latinos is one of asset opportunities, growth, improvement and education potential.”
Reframing the conversation
Critiques of the report have been that it is overly positive about the status of Latino students in the US. Those problems that receive the most publicity do exist and need to be addressed.
But Ms. Santiago makes a valid point about the purpose of her report. “People would rather invest in opportunity and potential, not negative profiles which conjure images of people in longstanding crisis.” The report seeks to reframe the conversation.
This report comes at a welcome time. Latino students make up nearly one quarter of the public school population, a number that is projected to grow to 30 percent in the next decade. Latinos as a whole are the second largest ethnic group in the US with a population of 53 million.
One of the ways in which more progress is being made than reported is in the area of ELL education, particularly using technology. Students are reaching proficiency faster than ever, which allows them to move ahead on schedule with their non-ELL classmates.
Hopefully other positive information sources will come to light that clarify the Latino education experience in America and how many possibilities there are to transform our workforce with these very valuable and hard working people.
For more about how Rosetta Stone can help turn your ELL program into a success story, watch our “Pathways to English Language Learner Success” on-demand webinar.