Many taxpayers argue that their public schools have become overburdened with an increasing enrollment of children from immigrant Hispanics, many of whom are categorized as English Language Learners (“ELL”). If you ask the people who run these ELL centers, they justify their existence with impressive statistics such as ‘51% of 8th grade ELL students are behind Whites in reading and math’. However, what happens to ELL students who achieve English fluency and no longer require ELL services? How are they being accounted for in these ELL evaluation statistics, if they are no longer eligible?
The statistics presented by the National Center for Educational Statistics (“NCES”) states that within the public school system ‘Hispanic students have higher high school dropout rates and lower high school completion rates than White or Black
students’. Similar to ELL; “What happens to those Hispanics who don’t drop out of high school but rather get ‘college bound’ level grades?” Many of these Hispanic overachievers are fluent in English, have taken AP courses, and for obvious reasons no longer wish to be stereotyped as another ‘Hispanic dropout’. You may be surprised to hear that many of these ’uncategorized’ students no longer wish to consider themselves Hispanic but rather American. In fact, many of them do not look much different than their non-Hispanic counterparts and may even have a non-Hispanic last name.
Two important issues arise from these ’uncategorized’ students. First, their scholastic achievements may not be included with the data used to measure Hispanic educational progress, hence potentially distorting the final numbers used to allocate Federal and State funding. Similar to the ELL, public school data on Hispanics will always be misrepresented as long as the Hispanic achievers are not accounted for. Second, and most important, these ’uncategorized’ students are included among Whites and must rely on outside support from Hispanic non-profits to meet their educational expenses.
Perhaps the greatest irony is that corporations today are willing to spend millions of dollars to locate, hire, and retain the few ’uncategorized’ Hispanics with degrees, while, not far off, there are so many other equally-as-competent Hispanics who failed to graduate due to lack of funding and proper support. With so many qualified Hispanic candidates falling between the cracks, perhaps corporate leaders should consider supporting established scholarship funds run by non-profits that know how to identify the best candidates.
Tapping on the larger pool of ’uncategorized’ Hispanic candidates is not only an excellent solution for social integration but also a smart way to attract diversified and loyal talent to the workplace.
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