The Untold Reason Latinos are Dropping Out

The cultural reasons that Latinos are behind everyone else in education

By Ernesto Caravantes, M.S.
Published on LatinoLA: July 25, 2007

The Untold Reason Latinos are Dropping Out

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. rnrnMy 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.rn rnClipping 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. The current debate over culture is comprised of the conservative assimilation camp and the liberal nativistic camp. rnrnAs the Mexican-American author of the new book, I propose a balanced view of culture. A mixture of Anglo-American and Hispanic cultural identities becomes the uniquely blended recipe, or prescription, for the malady of lagging educational achievement among Latinos.

Using up-to-date source material, interviews with educators-in-the-field, and the author's training in psychology, this book gives educators and counselors who interact with Latino parents one of the most extensive and comprehensive resources by which to send Latino children out of the classroom and into the world ready to spread, rather than clip, their own wings. The book contains a biographic summation of my life, both my challenges during my childhood, as well as my subsequent accomplishments during adulthood. This aids the reader in understanding my perspective and motivates the reader to overcome obstacles and achieve noble educational and career goals in life.

Come meet me at my booksigning this Saturday! I will be signing books at:

Montclair Borders Bookstore, Saturday, July 28, 2007, 3:00 pm 5055 South Plaza Lane Montclair, CA 91763
Phone: (909) 625-0424

If you cannot attend, you can order the book through my website!

Ernesto Caravantes, M.S.
Author, Clipping Their Own Wings

About Ernesto Caravantes, M.S.:
Ernesto Caravantes is a native Angelino who grew up in Lakewood, CA, the only son of Mexican immigrant parents.

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