Latinos Continue To Underperform in Education


Although Latino students have improved reading scores at a greater rate than white students, white students still perform better than Hispanic students at all grade levels, according to a study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP).
Hispanic students between the 4th and 8th grades improved their reading scores by 6.75 points on average from 2003 to 2011. White students in the same grades in the same time period improved their scores an average of 2.24 points, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post.
The overall gap between Hispanic and other students is troubling because Hispanics are the largest, youngest and fastest growing minority in the United States. The group now includes 50.5 million people, making up 16 percent of the population, and accounted for 56 percent of the nation’s growth rate in the past decade, according to the article.
More than 11 million Latinos children are between the ages of five and 17. In comparison, the white population increased by 14.3 million and accounted for 26 percent of US population growth. There have been efforts to improve Hispanic student performance in the last 20 years through targeted programs and system-wide improvements.
Reforms included programs to improve English language skills, scholarships, mentoring activities and enrollment in early childhood programs, but Hispanics have not benefitted from these reforms, according to the article, and continue to struggle in a number of important areas. Latino students are less likely to be enrolled in childhood learning and kindergarten programs, while high school graduation rates are at 65.9 percent, compared to the national rate of 75.5 percent.
The greater the difference between Latino and white children living in poverty, the wider the achievement gap. according to the article.