Report Finds High Dropout Rate for Latinos in N. Y. C.

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Latino students in New York City tend to attend public schools with a shortage of personnel and an abundance of minority students and underachievers, a new report by a commission created by the city school board has concluded.

As a result of the difficulties Latino students face, one in four Latino 9th graders does not complete high school in four years. The panel found that the dropout rate for Latinos is 40 percent higher than that for all students.

The Latino Commission on Education Reform. established last October, announced these and other findings and listed several recommendations in a two-volume interim report presented to the board late last month.

The 35-member panel expects to issue its final report next bummer, after more closely examining the effect of inequities in school funding as well as differences among various Latino groups. Latino students now account for about 35 percent of the students in the city's public schools.

Interim Recommendations

Forty percent of Latino students in New York City attend schools where at least 80 percent of the student enrollment is of color, the interim report found, and Latino students are more likely to attend overcrowded schools with high proportions of poor children and underachievers.

"By the time they arrive in high school, Latino students are far behind others in terms of academic achievement, "the report states, citing figures that show that, in one-half of the city's majority-Latino high schools, fewer than 40 percent of students read at or above grade level.

Moreover, the report adds, "as a result of how teachers are distributed in the New York City schools based. on seniority and credentials, resources in terms of personnel are sorely lacking in many predominantly Latino districts."

The interim report also notes that Latino students are severely underrepresented in the four specialized academic high schools with the city's lowest dropout rates.

The commission's report calls for further study into its finding that Latino students who speak English well tend to have a more negative view of their school experiences than do Latino students who are limited-English-proficient.

Pending its final report, the panel issued a series of interim recommendations, most of which were short-term in nature.

The commission recommends that the city annually examine the achievement of Latino students and increase funding to programs designed to keep Latino students in school.

The report also calls for the city to work to increase the number of bilingual teachers and counselors in its schools and tailor instructional programs to the needs of Latino students.

Vol. 11, Issue 39, Page 10

Published in Print: June 17, 1992, as Report Finds High Dropout Rate for Latinos in N. Y. C.
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