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The Story of Latinos and Education in American History


Abdin Noboa-Rios

Academic year 2014-15 marked the first year that public school enrollment (preK-12) became majority nonwhite, with the Hispanic/Latino as the largest minority. Significant population shifts have continued to occur, with Latinos now representing 1-in-4 (28%) public school students.

Meanwhile, the public schools are in trouble, with international achievement reaching new lows and where progress for nearly two-thirds of all 4th and 8th graders stagnant and below proficiency levels, now decades old. According to the Nation’s Report Card, students of color rank lowest, with Latinos and African Americans consistently at the bottom.

To understand the history of Latinos in particular, Dr. Noboa-Ríos goes back to recreate the story. Here he relates the dark legacy before and after Plessy, but also upon examining post-Brown challenges that linger. Meanwhile, demography has shifter greatly and the future of the country is now greatly dependent on the academic success of Latino children. Different from the past, this population can no longer be ignored. This is dramatically different from former years, as it represents a new urgency for the nation, one that can no longer be ignored.

As the story of education rapidly unfolds, America’s challenge is now to ensure Latino students excel or the country is in peril. It is important to understand why and how this has occurred to ensure it is rectified for a better and more balanced future for the nation, not just the Latino population.