Young Latinos

As the baby boom generation retires and worries about the viability of Social Security worsen, the U.S. federal government is keeping an eye on the number of young people, defined as those under age 20. The latest government estimate for the last decade shows that the number of U.S. young people would have declined were it not for Latinos, who accounted for all the growth. Today these mostly native-born U.S. citizens make up nearly a quarter of the nation’s youth population.

Of course, the nation must be able not merely to count, but also to count on its young. They are society’s future innovators, culture makers, defenders and leaders. Without enough young, societies languish. And societies bring suffering upon themselves whenever they fail to prepare their young for leadership or to foster among them idealism and an inclination toward excellence. Societies can rightly be judged by how they value their own young people.


That means young people ought to be able to count on the United States, too. How well does the nation value them? Here the numbers and measures fall short, particularly in the area of education. I’ll give just one example: three-quarters of Latinos (16 to 25) cut their education short during or after high school in order to support their families, according to research by the PEW Hispanic Center. Apparently, Latinos need more support to enable their young to stay in school. The precise kinds of support should be sorted out by government, church and civic groups, and soon. But this much is obvious: Education is a requirement for most good jobs—the very kind that can secure a healthy future not just for pensioners or for Latino Americans, but for the nation. Who is keeping an eye on the number of Latino graduates from high school and college? Who is seeing that this number grows in proportion with the Latino population?


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Jim McCrea
7 years 9 months ago
The last time I looked, higher education includes associate degrees and vocational/techincal education.

I think a lot more kids should be encouraged to find and develop a good practical skill and chart that course in their lives.  In my area, a plumber gets $95.00 an hour!  That's one heck of a lot better than lots of college grads who are struggling to even find work.
Marie Rehbein
7 years 9 months ago
Here in New Mexico almost half the population is Latino.  The drop out rate is five percent.  High school graduates with a GPA of at least 2.5 automatically qualify for the lottery scholarship if they attend one of the state's universities.  This scholarship covers 100% of tuition.  One high school has a nursery for the children of students. 

A lot is being done, and it is paying off.  However, I see no reason to single out Latinos as needing more help than students of other cultural backgrounds.  Except that some people here are bilingual, I don't see any difference between them and people among whom I have lived in other parts of this country.
7 years 9 months ago
Lest someone think that the contributor of this article has something to hide, here is a link to a report on the poll:

From the article:  "Young Latinos are satisfied with their lives, optimistic about their futures and place a high value on education, hard work and career success."

So, if they are satisfied with their lives and optimistic about their future, why do we insist on making them victims?  We should all be so lucky as to be satisfied with our lives and optimistic about our futures.

7 years 9 months ago
One more comment, and then I'll let those better versed than I expand....

It has become a popular notion that the only way to succeed (depending on how you define it) in this country is through higher education.  This has resulted in a huge demand for college admission and a corresponding rise in tuition; a dumbing down of college curricula to accommodate the multitudes who have no business (i.e., brains and drive) being in college in the first place; huge financial debt for many graduates who remain unemployable nothwithstanding their receipt of a diploma; a requirement for advanced degrees (and associated indebtedness) for the truly college-worthy kids to advance professionally; perceptions of incompetent graduates that they are above doing certain kinds of work at a certain pay grade, and a resulting refusal of work. 

I remember growing up and hearing the now politically incorrect phrase "Too many chiefs; not enough indians."   College degrees for everyone does not seem to make much economic sense, and as the poll suggests, doesn't necessarily improve everyone's quality of life.
Marie Rehbein
7 years 9 months ago
Karen, the drop out rate is what the state reports.  I have heard other figures, but not through official channels.  The school my son attends supposedly had a drop out rate of 50% at one time.  We haven't lived here long enough to have personal knowledge of the situation. 


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