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The Story of Latinos and Education in American History


Abdin Noboa-Rios

The 2014–2015 academic year marked the first year that American, preK–12 public school enrollment became majority nonwhite, with Hispanic/Latino as the largest minority. Population shifts have continued to occur, with Latinos now representing 28% of public school students.

American public schools are in trouble, with national achievement reaching new lows and progress for nearly two-thirds of all 4th and 8th graders below proficiency levels and stagnant for years. 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, The Story of Latinos and Education in American History goes back in time to recreate the story. In this book, Dr. Noboa-Ríos relates the dark legacy before and after Plessy, as well as the post-Brown challenges that linger. For a better and more balanced future for the nation, America’s challenge is to ensure that Latino students excel. Understanding how and why this dark history has occurred is imperative to rectify the situation.

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Every book has a purpose and this volume attempts to address the story of the Latino* regarding America’s past so as to better focus on its future. Rather than a broad history, education is used as the lens by which to examine the Latino reality in American life, as this has been how Hispanics have experienced this country. For the most part, life in school and its consequences has been the schoolmaster that has taught the Latino child what this country is about and what it represents. Through education, this book will show how this history has impacted and shaped the Latino experience and why this knowledge is important for today.

All too often many of us view events as they readily appear rather than seeing them as a continuum of a long past. While many know Latinos did not appear yesterday, some act is if Hispanics just appeared on the horizon. Somewhere Latinos got lost in the narrative. Yet, the Latino is endemic to the history of this nation and goes as far back as the Pilgrims; in fact, back to←xiii | xiv→ the original Spanish colony of St. Augustine in 1565 and even farther back to San Juan at the start of the 16th century, both part of the United States today.

Here the story of the Latino is presented with an assumption that may be surprising. Bluntly stated, the future of America is now inevitably linked to the future of the...

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