The Real Reason Latinos Drop Out From School

Author promotes success in education

By Ernesto Caravantes, M.S.
Published on LatinoLA: February 16, 2007

The Real Reason Latinos Drop Out From School

According to the Parent Institute for Quality Education, out of one hundred Hispanics that enroll in kindergarten, only two or three will eventually graduate from a university.

Hispanics are now, officially, the largest minority population in the United States, exceeding African Americans in number. Recent census data place the Latino population at over thirty five million in America.

Yet, despite the sizeable numbers, this minority group is doing poorly in education.

According to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, the high school graduation rate
for Hispanics was 57% in the year 2000. In that same year, 79% of African-Americans graduated from high school. The rate for Anglo-American students was 89%.

For the past 40 years, the average number of Hispanic high school dropouts has been more than twice what it has been for African Americans.

Although Latinos have made great progress in education, they are still well behind most groups. Most research has focused on socioeconomic disadvantages among Latinos as a possible explanatory factor for this dilemma. Most of these researchers, however, have overlooked one salient and powerful influence on Latino achievement and underachievement: Latino culture.

My new book, Clipping Their Own Wings, takes a unique look at how culture can either work for or against Latinos. This book does not advocate the mere abandonment of Hispanic culture by Latinos. Nor does it go to the other extreme and advocate wholesale or random adoption of an American identity by Latinos.

Clipping Their Own Wings stands apart in its advocacy of willful and purposeful adoption of the elements of any culture, Anglo-Protestant, Latino, or otherwise, that promotes success in America.

Clipping Their Own Wings is unique in its emphasis on selective cultural adoption. This position proposes that if Hispanics were to adopt certain elements of Anglo-American culture while still retaining their Hispanic identity and select cultural traits, they will integrate the best of both worlds.

About Ernesto Caravantes, M.S.:
Ernesto Caravantes is a native Angeleno who grew up in Lakewood, CA, the only son of Mexican immigrant parents. If you would like to contact him, he can be reached at:

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