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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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As with any book of this type, it is always difficult to acknowledge all the persons that encouraged me to write this book as well as many others that contributed in strengthening the manuscript. Equal thanks go to those that have gotten on my case to finally write a book on the story of education. While nagging seldom achieves intended results, it did prove successful in my case.

Somewhat different from other books, I am highly grateful and deeply indebted to literally hundreds of colleagues that provided personal input to much of the thinking behind my writing, most especially interviewees that shared their wisdom. As it was, this latter group was to be 25 individuals, but eventually grew to 112 persons that lent valuable time and shared great insight. Each patiently acquiesced to in-depth questions regarding myriad issues around the topic of Latinos and education—all “en vivo,” most face-to-face and several via Skype. Few are quoted in this volume, as most appear in my next book. Throughout, their invaluable insights were very helpful in reviewing the history of Latinos in American education, both current and past.

Seldom is a book written from the collective wisdom and insightful perception from so many elders that were interviewed, not to mention many colleagues and friends. In this instance, their sage advice and wise feedback made this a collective enterprise, as there is much to be said about “our” shared←xvii | xviii→ history as Latinos in education...

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