Education Report Highlights Latino Student Gains

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A recently released report by a top education advocacy group discovered that Latino students are showing solid educational growth over the last decade.

The report, “The Condition of Latinos in Education: 2015 Factbook” was released earlier this week by Excelencia in Education.  The goal of the report is to offer a more accurate look into the current state of Latinos in education.

“The conversation about Latinos and education is often very deficit-based, where we’re English language learners, we’re high school dropouts, and we’re illegal immigrants,” Deborah Santiago, vice president at Excelencia in Education and author of a new report, told NBC News. “While we still have to address those important issues in our country, the profile of Latinos is one of asset opportunities, growth, improvement and education potential.”

While many believe Latinos are generally not be proficient in English, the report shows the idea to be false, with only 18% of Latinos in the US as English language learners.  In addition, the report found more Latinos to be part of the workforce than any other racial or ethnic group, breaking the misconceptions that Latinos do not want to work, writes Juan Castillo for NBC News.

In addition, the report discovered that more Latino high school graduates entered college than did their white and African American peers, and a large majority of Latino parents expect their children to continue their education after they complete high school.

The Latino population in US public schools is on the rise.  In 2011, the group accounted for 24% of total public school enrollment in the nation.  That number is expected to reach 30% by 2023.  Latinos are the second largest racial or ethnic group in the US as of 2012 with a population of 53 million.

The report looks at educational achievement among the Latino population across the “educational pipeline,” or from K-12 on through higher education and into the workforce, setting a baseline with which to measure performance over time.

“Every educational experience from early childhood to high school and into the workforce influences the potential for success,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education.

Excelencia in Education is working to create a network of educators and policymakers to help look into the need of the US economy for a more educated workforce.  Santiago said she hopes the report will help the group in their thoughts concerning the Latino population and cause them to act.  “It’s really important that people believe we can make progress,” she told NBC News Latino. “The data show Latinos are making good progress and we can do more.”

The report did not only discover positive outcomes.  It is expected that by 2050, the group will make up 40% of the population in the United States under the age of 5, but that Latinos are more likely to live in poverty than other groups.