Successful Students

The “Silent Crisis” of the Latino Dropout Rate

By Lance Fuller

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 20 percent of Latino males dropped out of high school in 2008, the highest among any demographic in the country. The long-term consequences of Latinos and ultimately men of color dropping out of school create what Dr. Luis Ponjuan calls a “silent crisis.”

An assistant professor of educational administration and policy at the University of Florida, Dr. Ponjuan recently spoke at the National Education Association and identified the major problems that plague Latino boys and how schools and communities can improve their educational opportunities. Ponjuan is one of many researchers and specialists hired by the NEA Priority Schools Campaign to address issues facing minority students, particularly boys of color.

The most pressing issue concerning Latino boys, Ponjuan explained, is the ongoing and declining trend in high school degree completion and consequently a lack of participation in post-secondary education all the way from the associate to doctoral levels.

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