Factors in Latino Educational Achievement

Hispanics are slated to form the largest minority group in the country. Yet, the number of Latino students attending and completing college is simply not proportional to the overall Hispanic population growth. Why not?

Countless articles have reported that the Latino/Hispanic population is undergoing significant growth.  Hispanics are slated to form the largest minority group in the country.  Yet, the number of Latino students attending and completing college is simply not proportional to the overall Hispanic population growth.  Why not?

Various research studies have been conducted to identify the cause of the disproportional education achievement gap in Latinos.  In particular, actress and Latina education activist, Eva Longoria’s foundation commissioned a study indicating that “latino mothers play a decisive role in how their daughters fare at school.”  The full article chronicling the study can be read here.  In an effort to identify what does work for Latinas, as opposed to merely focusing on what has failed to work in the past, Longoria’s foundation presented their findings in this insightful video format, “Making Education Work for Latinas in the U.S.

While it is generally accepted, both in Hispanic families and beyond, that parental support and guidance are indicators of educational achievement, one factor that Professor Patricia Gandara of The Civil Rights Project at UCLA stressed was the importance of “Latino teachers and role models.”  “Having Latino teachers and role models is a resource that helps young Latinas in high school get better grades…”  Professor Gandara’s research revealed that a lack of Latino role models can have a profound effect on a Latina’s educational achievement.  As discussed in the video, Latinas who were exposed to and taught by Latino teachers, or had other Latino role models in their community that they could emulate, became a predictor of those students who would go on to attend college.

As part of OjoOido’s ongoing Intergenerational Latino Role Models series OjoOido introduces Latino Role Models whose background mirrors that of Latino students.  This shared background, as discussed by Professor Gandara, is capable of providing Latino students, and many times their parents, a sense of bonding and comfort in navigating the public education terrain.  OjoOido.com selected its Role Models based on the following three categories/criteria: First, the OjoOido Role Model has demonstrated ethical conduct that serves as an ethical template for the exercise of adult responsibilities.  Second, the OjoOido Role Model serves as a symbol of special achievement.  Third, the OjoOido Role Model must be a nurturer that can provide special educational services.

The current OjoOido.com Latino Role Models—Lou Gonzales, Mario Olivares, Anthony Munoz, Edwin Aguilar, Lindsey Olivares— know first hand what is required to become competent public school students.  Their  backgrounds demonstrate that they are persistent, driven and passionately believe that all students can – and will succeed – with the opportunity to learn and grow; regardless of cultural or socio-economic obstacles that may stand in their way.  Throughout their lives they have demonstrated a record of problem solving, creating, developing and executing tactical and strategic planning to successfully achieve their goals.  Their life-long passionate interest in and involvement in educational programs designed to strengthen under-resourced Latino students’ ability to succeed in challenging academic environments has lead us to create OjoOido.com; a sustainable, replicable and scalable Latino e-learning solution–by Latinos, for Latinos.  They know the obstacles that our Latino youth face in successfully negotiating the public school system.

One of the most powerful ways to reduce the Latino high school dropout rate, increase college attendance and improve college graduation rates, is by targeting a root problem: the minimal or complete absence of academic study strategies for the vast majority of Latino youth.  OjoOido.com addresses this failure to provide the Latino student population access to comprehensive and culturally relevant technical academic skills coaching and training.  Therefore, OjoOido.com invokes the collective practical wisdom, expertise, creativity and impassioned zeal in its blended multimedia student development pedagogy that Latino-serving institutions and its administrators, teachers, parents and, most importantly, its students can utilize to improve educational attainment.

For further reading on factors contributing to the Latino educational achievement gap and OjoOido’s proposed and scalable solution, please review my op-ed articles published in Latino Magazine: “Strategies for Academic Success” and “Developing the Next Generation.”

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