Latinx and Educational Access

Abstract

Latino access to quality education has deteriorated over the years despite the milestones recorded in the 1970s through the Chicano Movement, which sought to create an equal opportunity education system. Compared to their white peers, Latino students experience a wide range of challenges that contribute towards their low school performance and high drop-out rates. This paper has explored the barriers that Latino students face when seeking to gain equal educational opportunities in the American landscape. Even though the Latinos value education, this paper reveals the different hindrances that affect the attitude adopted by Hispanic students towards learning.

 

 

Key Words:

Equal Opportunity Education, Chicano Movement, Low-Income Institutions, K-12 Schools, Education Discrimination, and Latino Students.

 

 

Latinx and Educational Access

Introduction

Access to education exposes individuals to various opportunities that define their future and ability to accomplish their desired milestones in life. In the U.S., different community groups encounter numerous challenges that define their focus in life. Unlike the dominant white population group, immigrants such as the Latinos and African-American individuals encounter various barriers that hinder their access to education. Over 80% of Hispanics believe that attaining a college education is critical for succeeding in the competitive American scene. However, despite their willingness to enroll in different learning institutions, the Hispanics encounter difficulties such as building pressure to support their families and other scenarios, which influence their perspectives towards life. Many of the Latinos who dropped out of school associate their move with the building responsibility, which hinders them from pursuing their academic goals. Therefore, financial difficulties, poor English language skills, and a growing dislike for the American learning environment are some of the barriers Latinos face when seeking to gain equal education opportunities in the U.S.

Financial Problems

Many of the Latinos who settle in the U.S. as immigrants are exposed to low-paying jobs against a high cost of living, which discourages them from pursuing their academic ambitions. Observing the Latino educational experience exposes one to different issues that demonstrate the significant school drop-out cases in the community group. Unlike their American counterparts, Hispanics join the learning environment without access to the bare minimum resources that are critical to the realization of academic goals and objectives (Eichelberger, Mattioli, & Foxhoven, 2017). Likewise, the affordable learning institutions they join are usually unable to cater for their inadequacies, which create a certain level of discomfort among the young learners. Importantly, the immigrant status of the Hispanics hinders individuals from accessing viable economic opportunities that can sustain their families and expose them to an enabling environment where they can achieve their expected results in life. From this realization, it becomes problematic for Hispanic parents to expose their children to quality learning institutions that can mold their perspectives towards life.

In the learning institutions, Hispanic students encounter additional challenges that are linked to their inability to form healthy relationships with their instructors and peers. Notably, the inability from their parents to cater for their basic needs creates a climate of fear that is influenced by inferiority complex. From this realization, it becomes impossible for the students to succeed in their learning experience because of the underlying situations that hinder them from approaching teachers whenever they have concerns regarding a subject of study. While their parents struggle to meet their basic needs, Hispanic students encounter unlimited problems that distract them from fulfilling their learning obligations (Olivos & Mendoza, 2010). Based on the approaches that can be used to overcome the different problems encountered by the Hispanic learning community, scholars anticipate the inability of the modern society to create viable solutions that strongly influence the focus of individuals towards life. Hence, instructors can demonstrate a certain level of understanding through their teacher-student interactions with Hispanic learners to eliminate the fear that undermines their school performance.

Financial problems among the Hispanic population group creates a vicious cycle that undermines the role of education in promoting sustainability in the contemporary society. Markedly, Latinos have the lowest rates of educational attainment because of the financial problems and other issues that undermine their performance in school. Given the high rates of school drop-out in the community group, Latino students have a low chance of securing employment opportunities because of their lack of academic qualifications, which are critical in the corporate world (Tienda & Mitchell, 2006). Hispanic policymakers in the U.S. have proposed the implementation of various measures that can improve educational attainment by creating an enabling environment that influences the thought process of individuals in the learning institutions. Since the low levels of education attainment among the Hispanics are a cause for national concern, re-modelling the American education landscape is critical to the realization of viable outcomes that support the changing needs of the community group.

Poor English Language Skills

While many learning institutions increase their reliance on test scores to examine the learners’ proficiency, Hispanic English Language Learners (ELL) are recording poor performances in math and reading achievements compared to their white counterparts. In the same vein, the impact of background on student performance is manifested by the grades posted by students from low-income family settings who rank below their peers from high-income background. From this realization, the probability of a student ending in high-poverty or low-income institutions is strongly influenced by their race and their parent’s social class in the community (Becker & Deris, 2019). Introducing language barrier on top of the challenges faced by students hinders Hispanics from discovering their potential and pursuing various opportunities in the corporate scene. Today, English is one of the most important languages because of its role in facilitating interactions among individuals from different population groups. When examining the impact of communication on the quality of interactions, language takes an important spot in the creation of healthy relations that facilitate the approaches taken by individuals to overcome challenges in their immediate environment.

Attending a low-income institution reduces the proficiency of Hispanic students and hinders them from succeeding in reading and math subjects. Compared to their counterparts who attend high-income institutions, Hispanic students are exposed to a wide range of challenges that hinder their ability to accomplish their desired goals and objectives. The aspect of discrimination in learning institutions is manifested by the low impact of student performance among whites who attend low-income institutions that have a large population comprising Black and Hispanic learners (Barrow & Markman-Pithers, 2016). Over the years, Latino student enrollment in K-12 schools has significantly increased with 2050 projections indicating the number to have doubled the current rates. However, concerns have emerged regarding the measures put in place to expose Latino students to an environment where they can overcome issues that hinder their ability to improve their class performance.

Despite the increasing numbers of Latino student enrollment in K-12 schools, Hispanics learners experience various challenges that affect their ability to accomplish their learning goals. When Latino students enroll in learning institutions, the margin of performance between them and their white counterparts widens and increases as the Hispanic learners join high school education. Unfortunately, Latino school drop-out cases are more than those recorded by other ethnic groups, indicating a cause for national concern over the academic disparity (Lechuga-Peña, S., & Lechuga, 2018). Likewise, Latinos have the lowest post-secondary enrolment rate, an outcome that is attributed to their poor English language skill, which is attributed to the ineffective teaching approaches adopted by the low-income institutions they join. Given their inability to express themselves correctly using the English language, Latino students have experienced multiple cases of discrimination in school and beyond, an aspect that has had a negative impact on their learning encounter.

A Growing Dislike for the American Learning Experience

The American educational system is structured to promote excellence among the white population because of the teaching approaches that seem to favor students who speak English as a first language. Even though there are certain institutions that have created programs that assists students who speak English as a second language, the uptake of the mitigation approaches has been slow, demonstrating the adverse effects that affect the nature of interactions between students and their instructors (Kauffman, 2019). Latino students often enroll in low-income institutions, which lack the resources that can facilitate the study of English, which is used as a medium of communication during the student-teacher interactions. When analyzing the high school drop-outs among Latino students, scholars point towards the accumulation of different barriers that have a significant impact on the perspectives of students towards the learning process. Therefore, the growing dislike for the American education experience among Hispanics is largely influenced by the lack of support towards the elimination of the gap between Latino students and their white peers.

The Chicano movement that happened in the 1960s and 1970s led to the realization of various outcomes that promoted the Mexican-American identity in the U.S. and beyond. For instance, the movement gave rise to the introduction of bilingual programs in learning institutions, improved working conditions for migrant employees, and the recruitment of Chicano teachers to expose Latino students to a conducive learning environment where they could accomplish their desired goals and objectives (Lechuga-Peña, S., & Lechuga, 2018). Given the impact of the Chicano movement in the society, many Mexican-Americans were appointed to public leadership opportunities to represent the interests of the marginalized population group. However, despite these attempts to reform the American education system, Latino students who make up a quarter of the American student population are exposed to unfavorable learning scenarios that interfere with their ability to accomplish their desired outcomes (Saenz, 2004). Academic competitions in the U.S. sideline Latino students and promote the involvement of their white counterparts, which yields unfavorable outcomes that affect the Hispanic learning experience in the U.S. Therefore, the adoption of equal opportunity education programs creates an enabling environment where Latino students can compete with their white counterparts without experiencing preferential treatment that affects their focus and interest in the learning programs.

Conclusion

Financial difficulties, poor English language skills, and a growing dislike for the American learning environment are some of the barriers Latinos face when seeking to gain equal education opportunities in the U.S. In many occasions, Latino students experience direct and indirect discriminatory practices during the learning process because of the teaching strategies adopted by instructors. However, their family’s inability to expose them to high quality education hinders their school performance because of the unavailability of educational resources in low-income learning institutions. Despite the successful impact of the Chicano Movement, Latino students are still exposed to a wide range of challenges that affect their performance while contributing to the high drop-out rates of Hispanic students compared to their white peers.

 

 

References

Barrow, L., & Markman-Pithers, L. (2016). Supporting young English learners in the United States. The Future of Children, 159-183.

Becker, G. I., & Deris, A. R. (2019). Identification of Hispanic English language learners in special education. Education Research International2019.

Carnoy, M., & Garcia, E. (2017). Five Key Trends in US Student Performance: Progress by Blacks and Hispanics, the Takeoff of Asians, the Stall of Non-English Speakers, the Persistence of Socioeconomic Gaps, and the Damaging Effect of Highly Segregated Schools. Economic Policy Institute.

Eichelberger, B., Mattioli, H., & Foxhoven, R. (2017). Uncovering barriers to financial capability: Underrepresented students’ access to financial resources. Journal of Student Financial Aid47(3), 5.

Kauffman, A. H. (2019). Latino Education in Texas: A History of Systematic Recycling         Discrimination. St. Mary’s Law Journal, 50(3), 861–916.

Lechuga-Peña, S., & Lechuga, C. E. (2018). Xicanisma/o and Education. Affilia: Journal of Women & Social Work, 33(3), 300–316. https://doiorg.ez.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/10.1177/0886109917747633

Olivos, E., & Mendoza, M. (2010). Immigration and Educational Inequality: Examining Latino Immigrant Parents’ Engagement in U.S. Public Schools. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 8(3), 339–357. https://doiorg.ez.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/10.1080/15562948.2010.501301

Saenz, T. A. (2004). Mendez and the Legacy of Brown: A Latino Civil Rights Lawyer’s Assessment. Berkeley Women’s Law Journal, 19(2), 276–282.

Tienda, M. E., & Mitchell, F. E. (2006). Hispanics and the Future of America. National Academies Press.

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