Some unpleasant facts for Linda Chavez concerning Hispanics and education
Heather Mac Donald:
UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center and Faculty Center, which in 2006 sponsored a conference on Hispanic student failure. Conference participants presented research that slightly more than 50 percent of Latino students finish high school and 10 percent graduate from college, based on the 2000 federal census. University of California at Davis education professor Patricia Gandara blamed an “absence of a culture” of college attendance for the low college graduation rates.
The Brookings Institution. Their 2006 report, “A Fifth of America,” noted that 45 percent of Hispanic students are dropping out of suburban high schools.
The California Research Bureau, which reported in 2006 that the Latino graduation rate in California was just over 45 percent and in the Los Angeles Unified School District, 40 percent. The Bureau noted that a planned high-school exit exam, fiercely opposed by immigrant advocates, would likely depress Hispanic graduation rates to 30 percent. That controversial exam, by the way, would require students to answer just over 50 percent of questions testing 8th-grade-level math and 9th-grade level English. Academic skills among Latino students who do graduate in California are abysmal: Only 22 percent have completed the minimal coursework required for admission to the University of California, noted the Bureau. It is that persistent underachievement among Hispanics (as well, of course, as among blacks) that creates constant pressure for affirmative action in colleges and beyond.
Harvard economist Ronald Fryer, who reported in the Winter 2006 issue of Education Next that the stigma against academic achievement is higher among Hispanic students than among blacks.
Former Congressman Herman Badillo, whose book One Nation, One Standard calls for Hispanics to embrace education as route out of poverty. Chavez notes that I cite Badillo as a source, without explaining why he, too, is guilty of anti-Hispanic bias.
If Chavez can make an argument for a Latino passion for educational achievement with a straight face, let’s see her try.
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