What is it with Latinos and “yeah but” news?
You know what I’m talking about. Latinos are poised to sway the next presidential election – yeah but Latinos don’t vote. Latinos are leading the pack in new business starts – yeah but there are still too few Latinos in fortune 500 boardrooms. We could go on…
The discussion inevitably leads to the trite idea of a glass being either half- filled or half-empty (it’s seldom considered whether the glass is too big to begin with). The problem is that the facts of the discussion are usually taken directly from the headlines.
For instance: recently we celebrated the fact that, according to a study done by the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos are now the largest minority group in four-year colleges and Universities. Good on us for that!
Today, Education Week reports that most high school students are not ready for college. The claim is based on the results of the college placement ACT test, taken at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. According to EducationWeek:
60 percent of the class of 2012 that took the test failed to meet benchmarks in two of the four subjects tested, putting them in jeopardy of failing in their pursuit of a college degree and careers.
We can start a huge pile of criticism of the standardized test itself – have at it. But that’s not the point and the pile, true and relevant as it may be, would obscure the view of other things that are going on.
Why is it that when Latinos seem to crack through the blocks and become the largest “minority” group in colleges and universities, state funding for public education is pulled out from under them? When more Latinos are headed to college the crop of college bound kids are less prepared than ever?
Watch out though. This is great fodder for the nay-sayers, and they’ll be nay-saying loudly if you give them a chance; blaming public schools; blaming Latino kids; pushing for school vouchers; ending the public school system. Oh they’ll go nuts if their glass is half empty.
See, the thing is that it’s not about “yeah but.” It’s more along the lines of ”now what?”
Here’s the glass, the right sized glass, filled to the rim: Latinos are now the largest minority group in four-year colleges and Universities and many are not prepared for the challenges ahead.
What are we going to do about it?
Get active. Get to the voting booth and take folks along with you. Make your difference.
[Photo by: Ben Chaney]