School & District Management

The Strengths of Latino Families

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 06, 2009 1 min read
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Did you know that Latino children begin school with strong social and emotional skills that are quite similar to those of children from middle-class white families? Did you know that math scores for first-generation Latinos in elementary school are strong, even though many of these children have limited English skills? Did you know that eight out of 10 Latino toddlers are being raised in two-parent homes?

These are some of the findings reported in a research brief, “The Cultural Strengths of Latino Families: Firm Scaffolds for Children and Youth.” The writers of the brief encourage writers and editors to feature some of the strengths of Latino families in stories as well as some of the challenges facing Latinos, such as poverty. It’s probably good advice for educators as well to recognize the strengths of Latino families in trying to support Latino children and youths to do well in school.

The brief was released by New Journalism on Latino Children, which is a project of the Education Writers Association and the National Panel on Latino Children and Schooling, based at Berkeley’s Institute of Human Development.

A second research brief released at the same time by New Journalism on Latino Children, “Getting Latino Youth Through High School,” describes programs that have been effective in helping Latinos stay in school. The reasons that the dropout rate is high among Latinos may include poverty, a lack of literacy skills, and low quality of schooling, according to the brief.

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