The Challenge of Keeping Latino Kids in High School

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 31, 2009 1 min read
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My colleague Catherine Gewertz, over at High School Connections, has looked more into what’s happening at Valley High School in Las Vegas, which I mentioned in a blog entry earlier this week has been named a high-achieving, turnaround high school. It turns out, according to Catherine’s reporting, that the school has a graduation rate of only 55 percent. With that grad rate, the school still met the graduation rate goal set by Nevada for accountability under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Sixty percent of Valley High’s 2,800 students are Hispanic, according to an article about the school that ran this week in the Las Vegas Sun.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed the challenge of keeping Latino students in particular in school in a speech he made this week to a conference in Chicago of National Council of La Raza. He said that Latino parents need to do more to create a college-going culture among Latino students.

In addition, the Salt Lake City Tribune published a two-part series this month (Part I and Part II) about how schools there are struggling to support Latinos to finish schools. The articles say that 69 percent of Latinos graduate from Utah high schools, compared with 91 percent of white students. The series illustrates the issue by following two Latino students in depth, and showing the role that adult encouragement plays in helping them to stick with school. One of the students was an English-language learner. (Hat tip to Colorin Colorado.)

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.