There is in the U.S. education reform movement and amongst status quo education leaders across the country, little recognition of and appreciation for the value of Latino Role Models as a collective intergenerational group. Latino Role Models are particularly attune to and stand to offer a depth of understanding towards making faster progress in improving the educational plight of Latino youth in the U.S.
A Missing Link in Making a Real Difference in Latino/Hispanic Student Learning and Academic Achievement:
By 2050 the majority of school-aged children will be Latino/Hispanic, and 74 percent of the labor force will be Latino. It is clear that America’s national interest is best served on how well we educate Latino/Hispanic Americans.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California fewer than 4 in 10 California high school students are completing the requirements to be eligible for the state’s public universities, and that once students who drop out or do not finish high school in four years are removed from the equation, the proportion of public high school graduates who met the University of California and California State University entrance criteria in 2012 drops to 30 percent statewide, 20 percent for Latinos. It is painfully evident that their public educational institutions are failing to successfully address the learning needs of Latino/Hispanic students.
Currently, on top of the list of the many buzzwords or phrases that are repeated indiscriminately, at all levels in education circles, is “critical thinking.” However, the reality is that teachers, administrators, and professors say they teach it; local, state, and federal government officials and politicians (e.g. Common Core Standards) and the private sector hiring college graduates say they want to see it. But, if you survey what is out there on the topic, one reaches the conclusion that it is very difficult to define critical thinking with precision, let alone teach it!
It appears that the current quest to establish a practical working definition requires extensive, involved and expensive educational policy, webinars, conferences, and workshops all in the interest of talking about the issues raised by critical thinking! For example, according to the Education Week Research Center, despite training, half of teachers feel inadequately prepared for Common Core. The Common Core Standards focus on curriculum alignment and on the measurement of student achievement. What is missing is the instructional pedagogy to make a difference in student learning and student achievement.
The Common Core Standards address the “what” of teaching and that, of course, is significantly important. However, it is no surprise that at least half of classroom teachers are courageous enough to admit that they feel “inadequately prepared” for Common Core. The inadequacy is not a reflection of their professional competency, but rather, an honest testament to an inherent pedagogical design flaw, an absence of the “HOW.”
HOW will Latino/Hispanic students be more successful if past and current classroom instruction has been an unconscionable failure in successfully addressing their learning needs?
See. Hear. Learn!