Where Are Latinos In the Education Curve?

Latinos and education

What small business owners can do to help move the needle.

 

It seems every minute of every day brings us a fresh mountain of data to sift through. 

It’s hard to make sense of all of this by its sheer volume.  One friend described it as trying to fill a teacup with a fire hose.  Even within the relatively narrow confines of the US Hispanic market, it seems new information comes at us every day, so in LBT we will try (with no promises) to keep you abreast of some of the big demographic changes we see reported by various sources.

Pew Research Center

My current favorite source of information is no surprise – it’s the Pew Research Center.  Their Hispanic research team is top-notch and they provide clarity and vision where these things are rare – meaningful data on our lives, trends, patterns and changes over time. 

We will regularly cite them as providers of valuable insights.  There will be a steady stream of these as they send out their results via Twitter and Facebook and other social and traditional media outlets.

Today’s Gem – Educational Attainment of Latinos

One article they recently published had to do with educational attainment.  This has long been an area where Latinos, to our great detriment, have lagged.  And this is finally starting to change.

Pew resecnetly ran a piece entitled: Hispanic dropout rate hits new low, college enrollment at new high. As you can see from the title and the chart below, there has been some improvement over time. 

                                                         Source: Pew Research Center

Latinos are finally getting with the program and at the very least (mostly) staying in High School and even going further to seek college degrees. 

This is long-term good news for our community as we come out from permanent underclass status up to where we belong in the light of day, fighting for ourselves, our families and our communities. 

That said, we still have a long way to go.  Our dropout rate is still twice that of Whites, and while our college attendance has caught up with whites, we trail Asians by 15 points. 

We have some cultural and economic barriers to overcome.  Kids growing up in families where no parent has a college degree are at a distinct disadvantage.  Kids growing up without the benefit of tutors and special classes, music and arts programs, travel experiences and exposure to the world have a steeper hill to climb.

What Small Business Owners Can Do

So one thing every single small business owner needs to do is to promote higher education in any way possible. 

Possible ways to do so include:

  • Contribute to scholarship funds for Latinos and other minorities
  • Support programs around educational issues such as PTA drives or tutorial support for students who don’t have the advantage of having well educated parents.
  • Encourage your own children (of course) but also your nephews and nieces, cousins and even adults to get back to school and make something of themselves.
  • Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk – sign up for classes to advance your career and your skill-set.  Seeing you do the work will set a positive example for others around you.
  • Get involved with the educational efforts of your employees – make it easy for them to stay in school while they work. 

When my company was growing, we had many young people working for us and, frankly, continuing their education was a requirement – if they talked about dropping out, I would make it clear that they would have to seek employment elsewhere since I only wanted ambitious people working with me.  

So I did some time as a school counselor, giving advice on sticking with their vision of success.  I even had arguments with their parents who wanted their kids to work full time.

Of all the things I did as an employer, this was the best thing.  This will pay you back many times over.  I have stayed connected with the young people I supported this way, and I can see them growing in their careers, providing for their families and living rich lives full of potential. 

Again, a small business isn’t just for making you money – it’s about becoming a pillar of your community and giving back, lifting up, and doing well by doing good.

Related articles:

A Once In a Lifetime Story of Digital Transformation In Education

Education is Crucial for Hispanic Businesses to Succeed

A Technological, Innovation and Cultural Shift in Education

About the author

Carlos E. Garcia

Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively).  He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research.  Most recently  SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.

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