School & District Management

Diplomas Count 2012: A Special Focus on Latino Students

By Lesli A. Maxwell — June 07, 2012 2 min read
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The team here at Editorial Projects in Education has just published the 2012 edition of Diplomas Count, and this year, we devoted our reporting and much of our research analysis to Latino students.

From the early years all the way into college and beyond, Latino students trail their white, black and Asian peers on many indicators, whether it’s preschool participation, earning a high school diploma, or obtaining a bachelor’s degree. And though, as a group, Hispanic students have made modest progress in recent years, there’s a long way to go to close the gaps between their school performance with that of whites and Asians. This should matter to all of us since Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population and are projected to be, within another decade or so, the source of roughly 60 percent of the American labor force.

Inside our report you’ll find stories that illuminate both the challenges and opportunities for this diverse community.

There’s a piece that takes a close look at how the immigration law in Alabama has affected the Mexican immigrant community in and around the small community of Foley, especially the students and the educators at a local elementary school who have worked hard to integrate immigrant families into the school. We report on how Latino students are more likely than any of their peers to miss out on a quality preschool experience and the implications of that on their later schooling experience, especially for children who do not speak English. You’ll find detailed reporting on why college remains an elusive goal for so many Latino students and a separate piece that examines what, in particular, poses barriers to Latinas entering higher education. There is a story that examines the achievement of Hispanics in the Miami-Dade school system and how there, the Spanish language and culture of the immigrant community is viewed and used as an asset in the public schools.

We also feature profiles of students from around the country, each of whom represents one of the six largest Hispanic heritage groups in the U.S.

The report is also packed with research and analysis that zeroes in on Latino students.

For example, the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center team projects that Latinos will make up more than one-quarter of the nation’s 1.1 million nongraduates in the Class of 2012, even though they comprise 21 percent of the student population.

Twenty-five school districts account for some 37 percent of Latino nongraduates, according to the research shop. Among them: Los Angeles, New York City, Clark County, Nev., and Chicago. The EPE research team also has fresh findings on more than three dozen predominantly Latino-serving school systems that are exceeding expectations when it comes to graduation rates for Hispanic students.

And if you are in the D.C. area tomorrow, please join us for our official Diplomas Count event, where our researchers will discuss the annual graduation rate calculations for the nation, states, and every single school district. I’ll also be there with my Ed Week colleagues to help lead discussions on the big issues facing Latino students with some of the sharpest minds on this topic. It’s free and you can still register here. My colleague Christina Samuels will also be hosting a webinar on June 12 with administrators from Miami-Dade who will share their strategies for boosting Latino student achievement.

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