US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Are we failing next-gen Latino youth?

Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Often the immigration debate, such as it is, in America swirls around conflicting appreciation of the presumed benefits and irresistibility of assimilation for the nation's fast-growing Latino community. (Personally I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't be best for the global commnity for America's Calvinist tradition to get counter-assimilated into Catholic and/or Latino communitarian tendencies, but I digress, may the gracious Sam Huntington forgive such heresy.)

One of the key engines of such an assimilation would appear to be education and the improved income education can promote. If that's true than a new study from the University of Missouri suggests there is cause for grave concern about America's next generation of Latino young people. Analyzing U.S. Census date, the study's authors conclude: "Only 57 percent of Mexican-American students graduate from high school, and 11 percent receive college degrees."

This is a staggering failure with huge implications for the future fiscal and social health of U.S. Mexican-American community. Researchers attribute the failure to educationally thrive on the students own "perceived barriers" to higher education which "significantly predicted
Mexican-American students' educational aspirations more than the
influences of gender, generation level and parents' education level."

That strikes me as a little facile, considering the number of other economic and social influences that are likely at work on this specific communtiy of young Americans, but either way, it is a sobering challenge to us all. This community after all represents a good percentage of the economic underpining of whatever future prosperity and stability the nation can anticipate. It would seem a wise investment to ensure that more of these young people do well enough in school to do well enough for themselves--and the rest of us--in the future.