Elizabeth Molina Morgan: Latinos Need a Plan to Improve Graduation Rates

Courtney Williams's picture
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

There are profound and positive changes taking place among Latinos in America today. We represent the fastest-growing and largest minority population in the country. Over the past decade the number of Latinos has increased nearly 50 percent in the United States with one in every four children in America being Latino.

Latino students now represent the largest and fastest-growing minority student population in the public schools. With big changes come big challenges. While there is a great deal of diversity in background and socio-economic status among Latinos, the reality is that too many Latino youth are not graduating from high school.

In 2009, the national high school graduation rate was 75 percent; however, among Latinos the likelihood of graduating is closer to one in two, with less than 65 percent graduating on time. While overall rates have increased over the last several years, Latinos continue to lag significantly behind their White and Asian peers. With the latest Census numbers predicting Latinos will make up one-third of the U.S. population by 2050, their impact on our nation’s future success is undeniable. However, if we don’t address Latino dropout rates, it could be detrimental. The time has come for us to roll up our sleeves and enact a plan to reverse this trend and ensure that Latino students in America graduate from high school ready for college, work and life.

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