Study Faults School-to-Work Transition of Hispanics

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Boston--Hispanic youths here have difficulty getting jobs because of "the disproportionate way in which they are dropping out of the Boston Public Schools" before they have acquired the requisite education and skills.

This is the major finding of a report issued here by the Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation, a private, nonprofit, statewide organization.

"School-to-work transition programs, which by definition originate in the schools, do not work for Hispanic youths because they are not there," according to the study, which claims to be the first comprehensive examination of the school-to-work transition process for Hispanic youths in Boston. The 53-page report was written by Maria Estela Carrion, a sociologist in the Latin-American studies department at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Discrimination Charges

The report, "Hispanic Youth in Boston: In Search of Opportunities and Accountability," charges that Hispanics are being discriminated against by eligibility requirements for job-training programs that stress high attendance rates and good academic records.

Failure to meet these requirements is the result of "structural" factors over which Hispanic youths have little control, such as inadequate bilingual-education and support services, the study says. The problem of Hispanic youth education and subsequent employment, the report further notes, is of "crisis proportions."

The study also warns that the in-troduction of competency-testing and promotional policies, which are key elements of Superintendent Robert Spillane's "Long-Range Plan," will increase the dropout rate among Hispanic students.

'All Children Can Learn'

"Setting standards without the appropriate services is tantamount to setting our students up to fail and then blaming them for their failure," the report concludes.

Mr. Spillane, in a telephone interview, said that "quite the opposite will be true."

"Our philosophy is that all children can learn," Mr. Spillane added. "We hold the same standards for bilingual youngsters that we do for any youngsters. To do anything else is to say that these youngsters can't learn."

Vol. 04, Issue 11

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