English / Toward A Comprehensive Model Of The School Leaving Process Among Latinos

Toward A Comprehensive Model Of The School Leaving Process Among Latinos

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Autor:  anton  25 December 2010
Tags:  Toward,  Comprehensive,  School,  Leaving,  Process
Words: 1080   |   Pages: 5
Views: 493

Fred Webber

Freshman Seminar 193

Latinos in the City

Professor Velez

Response Paper

November 27, 2006

Toward a Comprehensive Model of the School Leaving Process among Latinos

The children of today make up the next generation that will shape the future. With Latinos making up the United State’s largest minority group, their impact on our nation’s institutions is tremendous. “Toward a Comprehensive Model of the School Leaving Process among Latinos” seeks to identify key factors that contribute to the high drop-out rates that plague the Latino community. The article also discusses key changes in policy that will greatly benefit not just the Latino community but the entire nation.

According to many researchers, there are many factors that are associated with the decision to leave school. For better understanding, the factors have been broken down into three categories- individual, family, and structural. Individual refers to behaviors linked to specific students. Family factors are in depth looks at how the family affects the success of a student. Finally, structural factors refer to the societal context in which the individual and family operate.

The first area highlighted is individual factors that are actively contributing to Latino dropouts. This study focuses mainly on “the individual student and his or her attributes, such as behavior, attitudes, academic performance, generational status, language, and ethnicity.”(Saenz and Velez 448) The first factor is oppositional behavior and adversarial subcultures. This subtopic discusses how truancy, cutting classes, and disorderly behavior all have linked with leaving school. A startling point that was brought up in the article is that “dropouts are really “push outs” when school personnel label some students as “troublemakers” and school policies and procedures encourage disciplinarians to use suspensions to remove them.”(Bowditch, 1993) I had been completely oblivious to this idea prior to reading this article. Academic expectations and performance is a rather simple factor. Research indicates that students who don’t have high academic expectations of themselves are less like to complete high school. Along with this, students demonstrating better academic performance are also less likely to dropout. Accelerated role taking is another factor that draws attention to the excessive amount of Latina girls who become pregnant and dropout. Generational status and acculturation focuses on contradictory findings about the effect of immigrant status and whether it either encourages dropping out or encourages completion of school. Spanish language is cited to be an important factor in explaining educational failure of Latinos. “Among Latino students who speak Spanish at home, English-speaking ability is frequently related to their success in school.” (Saenz and Velez 452) Some evidence exists however that bilingual education and ESL programs can help to neutralize the negative effects of students with limited English proficiency. The final factor is ethnic group membership and this simply states that Mexican Americans out of all Latinos have the highest dropout rates.

The family unit often holds much responsibility when it comes to the success of a child in a school system. Family structure indicates the impact of having more than one parent in the home to encourage the student, and discusses briefly that parenting styles also play a role. Family socioeconomic background stresses that economic constraint can force some students to drop out because their families need their earnings immediately. “Living in a neighborhood characterized by concentrated poverty is associated with inadequate housing, high crime rates, high unemployment rates, and higher exposure to health hazards, all of which have direct or indirect effects on the educational chances of children.”(Saenz and Velez 454) Latinos are found to be particularly affected by this. Connected with this is the atmosphere of the school in that schools with high student-to-teacher ratios have higher dropout rates. The nomadic nature of many Latino families also creates a strain because it makes it difficult for a child to feel stable and comfortable in one place. “Latino students from working-class backgrounds and those whose parents do not speak English are at a particular disadvantage because they may lack a parental advocate who can aid them in navigating the educational system.” (Saenz and Velez 455) We saw this first hand in class watching a documentary and how the parents of the three girls, struggled in being involved with their schooling. Social capital is the final factor that underlines that parents who connect have interact with their children and their school have children that are more likely to stay in school.

Structural level factors are important because all too often the school is never investigated in regards to the success of its students. School practices are the first factor that focuses on institutional practices, grade retention and distinguishes the difference between “voluntary” and “involuntary” dropouts. Relative group size of ethnic groups simply draws attention to the idea that minority groups can sometimes represent a threat to power structures and this can face barriers and obstacles that are trying to keep them from achieving success.

It is imperative to realize that all of these factors do not operate independently of one another but instead highly impact one another. The final section of the article gives suggestions of what can be done to combat this rise in Latino dropouts. It is important tot understand, according to the authors that “only since 1980 has the U.S Bureau of the Census used consistent terminology to define the Latino or Hispanics population on the basis of self-identification.” (459) This didn’t allow much opportunity for adequate research to be collected. The suggestions are a large-scale nationally representative longitudinal survey focusing on educational outcomes of Latino students, an avenue that inventories programs that communities and schools have developed to alleviate the dropout problem of Latinos, and finally a clearinghouse that inventories the different surveys and case studies that researchers have developed to study Latino dropouts. All of these would aid in drawing more awareness to the issue. Concentrated research on areas such as gender and education, immigration effects, and success stories of students who were deemed “ripe to fail” and who didn’t.

Latino dropout rates are adversely affecting our nation and will only continue to do so if the issue is not addressed with much compassion and concern. This issue isn’t a single, independent topic. It has definite effects on society as a whole. Failure to address it only worsens the outlook we can have on our future generation. Cooperation is a necessity among adults, families, teachers, administration, businesses, the government, etc. If this issue continues to be ignored we are only tying a knot that will not be able to be untied.

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