Read the entire report here: Landscape of Hispanic Education – The LIBRE Institute
(Isabel Soto – Policy Director) – The Hispanic population in the U.S. continues to grow rapidly and become a larger share of the total population. As a result, it is crucial that this segment of the population has the tools it needs in order to succeed especially as more and more Hispanics enter schools and the workforce. Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Hispanic will be responsible for 78 percent of net new workers (BLS 2021). It is within the country’s best interest that we prepare Hispanics and all Americans, not only for the economy of the future, but to be productive and involved members of civil society. A strong, functioning, and nimble education system can help achieve these goals. There are unique barriers and challenges for the Hispanic community to overcome in order to meet its full potential and be an economically and academically successful force for this country. While Hispanic educational attainment has seen significant improvement across multiple levels, there is still much work to be done. According to the most recent data on high school completion (for those over 25), Hispanics are lagging 16 percentage points behind the national number.
The COVID-19 pandemic further laid bare some of the existing challenges that the community faces in the education system, largely tied to a lack of resources. The cost of textbooks, materials, and at times the transportation to and from school can cause a significant strain especially for lower-income households.
Further, as more innovative and flexible options become available with the incorporation of technology, it is a concern that communities without the requisite resources will not be able to take advantage of those learning opportunities and ultimately fall behind. Taken together this all leads to lower levels of success in the education system, frustration on the part of students and parents, and likely contributes to the high dropout rate in the Hispanic community.
Fortunately increasing a variety of different educational options is a promising way forward that not only lends students and parents the flexibility they may need in their education, but also strengthens the system as a whole. By removing unnecessary regulations, eliminating geographic constraints, and addressing high costs students can be in the educational environment that works best for them be it a traditional public school, a charter school, religious school, home school, or private school. For Hispanic students and other students of color, the benefits of more options are already being seen in places like charter schools where Hispanics students living in poverty on average see increased learning growth equivalent to 48 extra days of math and 25 extra days of reading.
The success of the next generation of U.S. students and individuals is tied to the overall success of the Hispanic population in the U.S. and vice versa. By pursuing policies and programs that increase access to resources, maximize flexibility, increase accountability for existing options, and remove barriers to different types of education all students regardless of background are more likely to succeed.
Read more in our K-12 Report: Landscape of Hispanic Education – The LIBRE Institute