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Critical Issues of Latinos and Education in 21st Century America

Where Are We?


Abdín Noboa-Ríos

The year 2011 marked the first time in U.S. history where more nonwhite babies were born than white babies. Academic year 2014-15 marked the first year that K-12 public school enrollment became predominantly nonwhite. Among the five largest school districts, Latinos represent the predominant group. It’s all about a stemming population shift, not immigration, as more Anglo-Americans are dying than those replaced by births.

Meanwhile, our public schools are in trouble, where "normalized failure" has become the new norm and international achievement has reached new lows. In this mix, Latinos are 1-in-3 newborns. As the future of America is now "inextricably linked" to the fate of these children, our educational system must be more responsive or the nation is imperiled.

For this book, Abdín Noboa-Ríos interviewed 112 prominent educators nationwide, including some of the best Hispanic educators and thought leaders to search for answers to America’s educational challenges. What do they say? What do these leaders see? What can we learn? Their many suggestions and concerns are well highlighted. For these leading scholars and practitioners, their views are more about basic renewal, not piecemeal reform. Such action requires fundamental shifts in both mindset and attitude. Appeasement misses the point. We cannot undermine the severity of the problem.

“In Critical Issues of Latinos and Education in 21st Century America, Abdín Noboa-Ríos provides both an informative and provocative history and analysis of this country’s underutilization and underachievement of Latinos. In one volume, he brings to our attention a better understanding of the failure and the promising futures for the next generation of new Americans.”—Eugene E. García, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University

“In this thoughtful and powerful book, Dr. Abdín Noboa-Ríos, identifies the central challenges facing our nation. This is not an issue unique to any one ethnic or linguistic group, but a challenge for the entire nation and one we must face together. It is particularly important that the author resists easy solutions and over-generalizations. Students who bear the label ‘Latino’ are not, the author argues, a monolithic group amenable to one-size-fits-all educational solutions. These students represent a complex set of cultures and backgrounds which enrich their schools and our country. This is a book to be studied and debated as educators, leaders, and policymakers come to grips with the inequities that continue to grip our educational system.”—Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D., Author, Excellence and Equity Right Now: The 90/90/90 Solution; Founder, Creative Leadership Solutions

Critical Issues of Latinos and Education in 21st Century America is transformational, for it documents a more accurate portrait of what Latino children have had to endure during their educational journey. Anyone who cares about Latino children must read this book. It is historical, well researched, and honors the legacy as well as the sacrifice of our gente [people]. Well done!”—LTC (R) Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, President/CEO, Educational Achievement Services, Inc.

“This substantive and provocative book speaks to us with many voices and from many perspectives about issues and challenges we overlook at our peril. It joins theory and practice; data analysis and personal experience to bear witness to educational realities that could well determine America’s future.”—Margarita Benítez, Ph.D., Executive Director, Puerto Rico Endowment for the Humanities

“This wonderful book is an insightful review of the issues on the education of Latinos, grounded on Dr. Noboa-Ríos’ deep understanding as a long-time participant, researcher, and observer. It provides a context for the ‘national discourse’ the author proposes—a major challenge considering the growing divides. Neoliberalism in America has distorted analyses of current situations and their solutions, but a national dialogue is a challenge we need to take on!”—Tony Báez, Ph.D., Latino Educator and Milwaukee School Board Member

“As a former superintendent in large urban districts in four states, I’ve personally experienced the flaws in our current educational system and the inequities and disparate achievement among our Latino student population. This book admirably exposes these systemic flaws. We need strong voices such as that of Dr. Noboa-Ríos, who takes a bold stance in spelling out what needs to happen in order to move the Latino Education agenda to the forefront. I applaud his book and call to action to move more aggressively on these issues in order to secure a stronger future for our students and our nation.”—Edward Lee Vargas, Ph.D., former Superintendent and former President of ALAS (Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents)

“As an important book for our times, Dr. Noboa-Ríos captures the concepts of education for our Hispanic population today…a must read.”—Grace Flores-Hughes, Former Director Community Relations Service, Department of Justice

“Kudos to Abdín Noboa-Ríos for his sweeping historical and contemporary examination of the poorly understood Latino educational experience. In light of rapidly-changing demographics, his injunction to policymakers and practitioners is for them to consider the urgency of time in the cultivation of constructive mindsets and in carrying communities in order to fully embrace diversity with a dedicated pursuit of the common good.”—Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D., Professor, College of Education, University of Texas at Austin; Author of Subtractive Schooling and Leaving Children Behind